I met another eternal optimist like me, he too was dealing with a recent break up, and it was fascinating to listen to a male version of my thoughts. One day we must have both been feeling low, and I talked to him about the burdens of being an optimist.
"What do you mean?" He asked.
You see, as an optimist I can't help but see that the glass is half full, or the big picture that something or someone great is just around the corner. But I'm human, and I still get impatient. That kind of thinking gets things done, but only in the short-term. When I get down, there's one side of me that feels and shows that frustration, and another that won't. He put it simply, “Some days I just want to say F@*k it, I'm tired, I can see the good in this later.”
Days when you want to buy silver top milk and Oreos and just be left alone.
That's the burden of an eternal optimist.
He asked me if I had faith, and I said yes, more than anyone can know. Hold on to that, he said, it's what gets you through days when you feel like you're stuck, or in the rapids without a paddle. Faith grounds you and gives you hope.
I also feel the pressure of where society expects me to be at my age - settled down, popped out a couple of kids, walking along the beach with our dog. Ok, I have the dog, check. And I work with kids. Days like these I stop, breathe, and realise how incredibly blessed my life is, even when I haven’t quite figured it out. Walking alone on the beach with my dog, I am reminded, this moment, these emotions are temporary, and the bigger picture is actually quite awesome.
Last night we farewelled one of our dancers, Rieke, who is going back home to Germany after a year in New Zealand. We spent one incredible year with her, and I truly feel blessed to have known and taught her. Hearing her laugh is like going for a swim on a really hot day, or finding out your favourite chocolate bar is on special at the supermarket. Simplistic joy. She will be someone who will impact many lives, we are just a few.
Each dancer shared the love, like really shared the love. And there I listened, in awe of these kids, their honesty and giving a part of themselves without hesitation. Rieke is their friend, forever part of our family. Giving time is truly the greatest gift.
So, what is the burden of an eternal optimist? It’s being patient with yourself, as much as you are with others. Taking your own advice even though it isn’t what you want to hear right now. If you want to be sad, be sad, just don’t stay there too long. The sun is shining, and the dog wants to go to the beach.
An awesome life isn’t about everything going right, it’s living in the right now.