I have always possessed the natural gift of optimism. I like the feeling of lightness and happiness that goes with it, so it was a good match for me.
I suppose I discovered the secret of optimism as a child since there were always things I was dreaming about. I delighted in my little girl dreams and visions. There were many things I wanted to learn or do, places I wanted to visit and relationships I wanted to have. It felt great to anticipate having a wonderful life, so I was positively committed in believing all was possible.
As I matured I learned that I may not always get my way, have my dreams be realized or reach my goals, yet optimism was still my ticket to being happy while I waited. In other words, optimism provided me joy in the present moment every step along the way.
The opposite of optimism is worry. Although I have done my share of that too, it eventually occurred to me that worry changed nothing except my mood and decreased my level of enthusiasm. Worry never made things change in my favor or kept bad things from happening to me. All worry did was make me unhappy while I was waiting.
A great example comes from ten years ago when I was diagnosed with uterine cancer. I was optimistic I would recover completely and not have a recurrence. I hit the target regarding a quick recovery at the time but clearly missed on the optimistic prediction of never having cancer again.
The good news about my optimistic mindset ten years ago was that I did not lose ten years of happiness by worrying about the future. My optimism clearly did not prevent the disease, but I had a joyful, spirited and enjoyable life in the interim.
Evidence of my current state of optimism is that I just bought a replacement bottle of hairspray even though I anticipate soon beginning chemotherapy, which typically produces hair loss. In this case, I am optimistic I will survive this disease and have my hair eventually grow back requiring the need for hairspray once again.
Although optimism is not a golden ticket for everything we may want, it is clearly effective in allowing us to experience peace and joy and have fun NOW. Since NOW is all that exists, I’ll continue to be optimistic.