I think it’s my problem, actually. This mad assumption that everything will turn out for the best and that somehow I’ll land on my feet, buttered side up, and that at the end of the day there’ll be a big ensemble piece with everyone smiling and waving and someone holding up a banner saying ‘The End’ with cherubs and trumpets and swags of flowers. And it doesn’t work like that, and life doesn’t go the way you expect or want it to, and perhaps you’re best off not attaching too much weight to anything, so long as you don’t go down the teenage-philosophy-student wearing-black-and-being-cynical route because at the very least that’s utterly tedious. Do your best and see what comes and don’t expect things. But in absent moments, in the shower, washing up, I leap and bound forwards in time and predict all kinds of good things for tomorrow, next week, next year, next decade, and that’s irresponsible, because life actually isn’t a box of chocolates or a novel or a John Lewis advert. It’s seconds and minutes and days, human beings and atoms and molecules and hormones and neurons and God and Brownian motion and freak acts of nature and coincidences and causality, and there are so many different interactions and choices being played out, and the beauty of it is that it’s totally random. Running with the assumption that God has a plan, I don’t know what it is yet, and I just have to trust that idea and in the meantime do my best to do the right thing, be a good person, be someone I can be proud of.



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5 responses to “Optimism

  1. It’s sometimes my optimism which has lead to me getting hurt the worst. Life isn’t a book, or a TV show, it isn’t guaranteed to have a happy ending, you’re exactly right.

    Alas though, I’m not a believer (I could leave her if I try) so I don’t really have the certainty about there being a plan bit, which is mildly disconcerting. I suppose I can also try and be the best person I can.

  2. Jenny

    I don’t know why it is so easy to assume that there is a happy ending at some point. Of course it doesn’t work like that. I’ll probably get cancer and die childless for all I know.

    Or I guess you go all Pollyanna and try and see the best in everything but that’s difficult.

    So yeah, at the end of hte day, you just do your best, whatever that might be.

  3. Dominic Rout

    In my experience looking for good sides of things works well. like ‘technically I am homeless, but at least I have an overdraft’

  4. “Running with the assumption that God has a plan”

    Obviously I’m a godless heretic, but I find it really empowering and awesome to realise that there is no plan. Hmm.

    Anyway, I think it’s good to be optimistic. Without that belief that things will be ok, I think it would be easy to be too cautious; to not take the risks that are needed to make everything turn out for the best. But then, I think Andy is right that sometimes being optimistic can lead to getting hurt.

    Isn’t life fun, eh? 😛

  5. Here’s my view: “sometimes in life you are the pigeon, sometimes you are the statue”.

    I am also a godless heretic, although now they have actually invented lightsabers I reckon I’ll become a Jedi, but only if they can make me a blue one. All that “training” will be worth it for a kick-ass laser-sword!

    On a possibly more serious and profound note, as far as I’m concerned the only objective truth I can discern is I’m going to end up dead at some point and give it 50 years or so it is unlikely anyone will care. That sounds like some massive uber-emo statement (puts on my chemical romance) but if you think about it like that, actually, whatever you’re worried about now really doesn’t matter. To quote pirates of the carribean, source of all moral guidance, “the trick isn’t living for ever, it’s living with yourself”. So, if you’re happy with how you’ve lived your life, great. If not, change it. It is, after all, one of the few things you can control. I think we had a similar discussion to this on another thread…

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