Wednesday 15 May 2013

Monday 13th May - Wednesday 15th May - Relentless Optimism?

On Monday I managed to carve out an hour in the morning and caught up with a friend that I used to spend a lot of time with when our children were primary school age.

We were talking about this and that, and she commented on my "relentless optimism".

That set me thinking. Is this a Good Thing? All these Silver Linings? Looking on the Bright Side? Glass always half full? Am I just maddeningly and infuriatingly cheerful All the Time?

To be honest, I don't know how I would get through life at all if I didn't think like this. It is a deliberate act of will, this "staying cheerful" business. And pretty hard work too.

There have been times of tears. I can remember them from when I was about 8 years old, and 10 years old, and the first nights at boarding school, and Sunday evenings when I worked in a job I hated, and the consequences of working too long and too late for too many weeks in a job that terrified me, and when the children were small, and when they were teenagers, and when I was fearful for my own future, and since our family life became over-shadowed by my mother's stroke. Don't get me wrong - I'm not faking it. I'm not "in denial". I'm not plastering over any cracks.

One of the most powerful tools that I use to stay positive is to look at the natural world and marvel. How many shades of green are there in the trees around me! Look at the flowers, properly. The shades, the veins, the colours, the shapes, the variety. How did that all happen?

How does an acorn hold a whole tree? How do the two cells that form the very first moments of a baby sort themselves into hair and brain and toenails all in the right place? 

I discovered that if I sit and look, really, really, really look, at a leaf, or a pebble, or a tree, for about five or ten minutes, almost committing it to memory, I can restore my soul, refill my glass, regain my strength, and carry on.

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