on thunderstorms and optimism

So as I was standing at the bus stop in the middle of the night, there was a thunderstorm starting to gain momentum. At that point it was still silent flashes of lightning at very regular intervals. They lit up the clouds in the best of ways. But aside from the poetry of it all, it also made me feel incredibly small. Thunderstorms tend to do that. I looked up at the sky for a good seven minutes and just marveled at the weather trying to wrap my head around just how big the world around me was. I couldn’t conceive it; it was like hugging someone who is just too big to put your arms completely around.

It made me feel like anyone attempting to make this world a better place, including myself, has a hell of a challenge ahead of them. I don’t mean the people who “help the world” by putting their Starbucks cup in the recycling, although – thanks, I guess. I mean the people who pour their entire lives into helping others, into righting wrongs. People whom others call crazy but who are actually the most valuable kind of human being there is. I love that those people exist, I love surrounding myself with them, and I have a glimmer of hope that I could maybe one day be a fraction as awesome as they are.

There is a whole lot of fighting left to do before things start looking up. It’s a huge uphill battle.  That’s why I’m so thankful that I have the gift of optimism. I’m not sure where it stems from, as most of my family are total cynics and in my general experience people kind of suck. Still, there is some tiny thing inside me, with its own energy and vitality, which makes me truly believe that things will be OK. Maybe that’s naïve, but I like that this thing lives inside me, so I let it be.

On the other hand, I have met and discussed with a lot of negative people, pessimists, cynics, whatever you want to refer to them as. I’ve heard their arguments, and frankly, it’s bullshit. I’m calling them out! If there really was no hope for anything and people are awful and the world is going to crumble like a poorly baked dessert, then what’s the point? Why even keep doing anything at all? Why keep trying? The fact that these so-called pessimists have jobs, families, homes, a role in society means that there’s something keeping them going. It could be their kids, maybe they really fucking love watching Sunday night football or Pinterest is just the best thing since sliced bread to them. Whatever it is, there’s always something people enjoy that keeps them from giving up. That’s hope! Hate to ruin your pessimist rep, but that’s something to fight for, no matter how small.

In the grand scheme of things, all this really doesn’t mean much and I doubt I’ve converted many negative Nancies. I simply wanted to share how easy it is to be an optimist, and that maybe you should give it a try sometime.

-M

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4 thoughts on “on thunderstorms and optimism

  1. […] And be sure to check out our latest post, “On Thunderstorms and Optimism” […]

  2. Katy says:

    I too feel the pressure of wanting to change the world while knowing how large it is and how small I am. There’s also that question- what is it that I actually want to change? I think you addressed it in this post, that is, optimism. How do we get people who see in black and white, people who see what it “is” instead of what it “could be”, to work for a better world? To see that reality is not set in stone, but is constantly in flux, and we are the ones controlling it? How do we get people to understand that they are not the victims of the universe but the creators of it, and that we have the power to make good out of bad? We should start making a difference by perpetuating optimism, and acting on it.

    • tblacquiere says:

      I think that getting people to see “that reality is not set in stone, but is constantly in flux, and we are the ones controlling it” has to start with the really small things. This great video, made to part of a commencement speech by David Foster Wallace, really gets at it when he talks about the little, everyday stress things that we can choose to view as just that – stressful and shitty – or we can change the narrative we tell ourselves about them

      Then from there we can start to move on up to bigger, worldly issues (:

      http://dotsub.com/view/6b8cc93f-3b53-486b-a1ce-025ffe6c9c52

  3. Martin Weiss says:

    People have to want change for themselves. So I think trying to convince negative nancies of anything is a losing fight. Creating connections with positive people, and building a supportive and open community is a much better way to spread the optimism. Still, community building sounds hard, but connecting with positive people is super achievable.

    They say if you want to do well in sports, visualize success. Picture yourself playing the way you want to play. I think the reason that works has to do with confidence.

    If you don’t picture yourself having the job you want, or being succesful, then you’ve got problems. How will you have the confidence to get your foot in the door? How will you even know that is what you want?

    It’s about dreaming. Suspend your disbelief of the grander vision, and then focus on details for the day. Still, at the end of the day know that it’s going to take a whole shit-load of grit to be succesful. We have so much time at this age, and that means it’s ok if you have to take a long detour to get to where you want to be. It turns out if you work hard for it you get there a lot faster than you think you will.

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