Optimism, while it does great things for heart, health, survival, yadayada, for some reason does NOT work well for me. I’ve found that, at best, the more optimistic I am, the more disappointed I am in whatever it was I was feeling optimistic about to begin with. At worse, and this is what usually happens, I feel happy about something and very shortly thereafter something really BAD happens. I was in a good mood one day in August three years ago when I spoke with my husband on the phone from work. I came home that day to walk into the kitchen to find him dead on the kitchen floor.
I was in a good mood the morning of September 11, 2001. It was a beautiful morning and I was getting ready for work. Well, we all know how THAT day turned out.
I was in a good mood when I was packed and ready to move when I walked into my bedroom to find one of my two black cats (RIP Deimos) dead on my bedroom floor. At least I can take comfort knowing that it was very quick, because I’d just pet him and felt him purring not ten minutes prior. But I’d much rather have him back.
And there are a host of other things that make me convinced that being in a good mood is bad for my well-being. Being in a bad mood is bad for the whole blood pressure/heart attack/ulcer side of things. So…which is better? I don’t know. I try to split the difference and be “cautiously optimistic” but that doesn’t seem to work so well. “Pessimistically realistic” sounds a bit more like it. And it has proven to be much better writing fodder than any of that happy joy mushy lovey-dovey, hopeful, naive sappy crap.