“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou
There’s a popular website called F My Life where everyday people (and their idiot friends) post about their misfortunes and epic fails.
Surprisingly, none have written “Today, I realized that I had the necessary resources, physical capability and mental acuity to type this message, yet wasted it by posting about being shocked by the laws of nature, attraction, and Murphy. FML”.
That’s probably because optimism is not funny. Irony is.
Nobody with a valid sense of humor wants to hear anybody talk about best-case, gee-golly-gosh-isn’t-it-great scenarios. We don’t laugh when the princess lives happily ever after. We laugh when Larry David of Curb Your Enthusiasm accuses his ex-wife of not respecting wood…in the middle of a make-out session. We laugh when Jerry hits Tom in the face with a frying pan.
I like to laugh. The fact that life is NOT perfect gives me plenty to laugh about*. To pretend that everything is coming up roses would be, uncivilized**.
By definition, optimism is…
- a tendency to expect the best possible outcome or dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation
- the philosophy that this is the best of all possible worlds
Let’s see, I don’t tend to expect the best outcome, even though I do aim for it. I can’t honestly say that I even want to dwell on the bright side. Crazy people live there.
Clearly I do not qualify as an optimist.
Does this mean that I can’t be happy?
Maya said I have a choice. If I don’t like something, I can change it or changing how I look at it. I choose to be happy, fully aware that stupid sh*t (and people) will happen. I choose to believe that happiness and sarcasm are not mutually exclusive. I can be a realistic optimist, a person who can say “uh oh, here it comes” with a smile.
I like the idea of healthy balance***. This, my friends, would be best-case scenario. So, here I begin my journey as a realistic optimist, defining and redefining myself as I see fit. Yeah, I can do that.
Maybe this is the best of all possible worlds.
* to keep from crying
** …and unpleasant. Roses, everywhere? Scary.
*** like 2 parts Fruity Pebbles to 1 part almond milk