Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Optimism, pessimism, balance

Are you an optimist or a pessimist? A lot of people have no problem answering this question. I have always struggled with this. I try to be optimistic about things, but I tend to be more pessimistic, sort of a hope-for-the-best, plan-for-the-worst gal, I guess. Then, the other day, I had an epiphany. I think what I am is balance.

If someone is being negative, I will try to buoy them up and present them with a positive alternative to their bleak outlook. As an example, I used to work in Honolulu, and during lunch, my coworkers and I would often head over to a nearby beach where we would walk the length of the beach and back, jump in the ocean for a couple minutes, rinse off, and go back to work. One day, one of my coworkers was bemoaning the fact that we had to go back to work soon while all these other people on the beach could just hang out and have fun all day while they were on vacation. I pointed out that while they were having fun now, they would probably have to go back to Wisconsin soon, where it was 12 degrees with 6' of snow on the ground, and how much fun would that be? We live here, and we get to come to the beach almost every day. We should be happy that we don't have to go back to Wisconsin. He tried to invalidate my point by pointing out that almost everybody was Japanese. I said, "What? Japanese people can't be from Wisconsin?" Anyway, my argument sort of fell apart from there since he refused to believe that ALL the Japanese tourists on the beach could possibly have come from Wisconsin, but my point was that we should appreciate living in Hawaii vs. just being able to visit it for a week or two once a year or once every FIVE years. See? Very positive of me, right? Technically, I guess being positive isn't exactly the same as being optimistic, but we're going with stream of consciousness reasoning here, ok?

However, I am also always the one going, "Yeah, but what if..." I never think a plan is going to work out. I always expect there to be a snag. I am very cynical and sarcastic about people and their intentions. I don't have a good example of this at the moment, but if I think of one, I will come back and post it.

Anyway, I decided that I am neither a pessimist or an optimist, but a balancer. Although the deeper I go into this post, the more unsure I am becoming of that diagnosis. My anecdotal evidence above leads me to believe that I am just a snarky optimist...which actually kind of fits. The fact that I labeled myself as an optimist seems very optimistic, but the snarky part drags it down just a bit in a way that's, well, kind of snarky.

So, there you have it. I am a snarky optimist. What are you?

No comments: