Friday, May 08, 2009

Ooohhh Right… Optimism…

Optimism: (noun) – a disposition or tendency to look on the more favourable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favourable outcome; the belief that good ultimately predominates over evil in the world.

I am an eternal optimist for the most part. I pride myself on having a glass half full kind of attitude and strongly believe that regardless of the circumstances, if you can find something in it to laugh at, you can live through it. This last one makes me a questionable invite to most funerals however, but hey, what can ya do?

Anyway, in the past six months it seems I’ve been hit with one bad thing after another between lay-offs at work, illness, stress, control freaks, the whole puppy thing, feeling like my writing had stalled out, etc. It was almost as if there was no time to come up for air when another wave came along and sucked you under again. And every time you thought, there has to be an end in sight, it was all just a ruse. I stopped even believing things would take an upswing. That’s so unlike me.

I was feeling unmotivated to do anything, include eat (which anyone who knows me knows – that is a nearly impossible feat). I kept telling myself I had to snap out of this, but I didn’t even feel motivated to do that.

But then I started seeing these little signs. That sign mainly manifested itself in the shape of Michael J. Fox’s new book popping up everywhere. Now, I’ve always been a huge Michael J. Fox fan right from the first day Alex P. Keaton showed up on the scene. I’ve followed his career, his illness, his activism and can honestly say if I had to make up a list of heroes he would land squarely in the Top Ten, probably the upper half too. After all, anyone who can get the diagnosis he did, at a time in your life when you’re just getting your life underway and still have the attitude he does…well it’s pretty impressive.

So, feeling somewhat beaten down and exhausted by life, and knowing I needed to track down my normal optimistic mojo, I decided who better to turn to then him. In keeping with that, yesterday I went out to the bookstore and picked up his book: Always Looking Up, Adventures of an Incurable Optimist. And last night I stayed up to watch the special he did on ABC.

Now I’m not going to claim that a one hour show just turned my life right around and I’m all better. But I do feel a bit better. Before yesterday I felt like life was kicking my ass and I was letting it, too tired or overcome to even bother trying to put up a fight any more. That's changed. Now I’m going to start kicking back.

I’ll manage the things I can, and just roll with the things I can’t and make the best out of them. After all, it really is all a matter of perspective. I can’t control a lot of what happens out there, but I can choose how I respond to those things. So thanks for the reminder, Mike. I needed that.


Anne MacFarlane said...

Funny Kelly, my last two posts were on the same thing.

I think you're an optimist. You have a very proactive attitude towards life. It's normal to feel stressed when life throws you difficult challenges like layoffs and serious illness. When you have that same kind of reaction to every day stuff, little bumps in the road, that's when a person needs to step back and find some perspective.

Lexi said...

Sounds like your optimism is returning. Hang in there!

Julia Smith said...

'If you can find something in it to laugh at, you can live through it. This last one makes me a questionable invite to most funerals however, but hey, what can ya do?' - LOL!! (as always, Kelly)

Michael J. Fox is absolutely heroic. I've really admired his refusal to hide his symptoms in public and his matter-of-fact appearances on shows. Plus his appearances before government committees. Every effort by every person counts.

MJFredrick said...

HUGS, Kelly! I admire the heck out of Michael J. Fox. I have his special Tivoed. I saw him on Jon Stewart the other day. He's incredible, and a great inspiration.

Keep looking up!

Peggy said...

It's hard to remain upbeat and optimistic when you keep getting knocked down, but eventually the tide will turn so hang in there and be ready to catch the wave when it does.

Christine d'Abo said...

There must have been something in the air over the past six months, because I was feeling much the same as you. Only I didn't have a good reason for it! I really admire MJF and how he has handled the struggles thrown at him in his life. It really makes me realize that I have nothing to complain about. I'll have to pick his book up when I'm next at Chapters.

I hope things are brightening for you, Kelly. :)

Tess said...

I'll have to see if we have that book on order! Heard lots of good things about it.

Glad to hear you're feeling a bit more like yourself :)

Annette Gallant said...

I'm so mad at myself for not watching Michael J. Fox's special. I meant to, but then that night I forgot all about it. Grrr... Hopefully they'll re-air it.

I love what you said at the end. I used to tell my students, many who had a very tough home life, the same thing. And it's so true. Sometimes we can't control things. We can only control how we deal with them.

Patricia said...

Sometimes it is hard to look on the bright side, but I try to always think that things could be worse.