So. I’m inspired to write a blog. I don’t expect this blog to change the world or reach millions of people. But maybe it will reach someone. I have kept journals for years and years. I remember writing my daily life and thoughts down when I was 7 or 8 and my mother recently gave me a box of my high school journals. I have to say, I was a confused teenager. I’m 27 now though and I’m happier than I ever thought was possible, and I’m naturally upbeat and happy, so that is saying something. And that is the segue I’ll use to transition into my main topic for my first post. This has been on my mind for a few days now, so writing about it helps me sort out my thoughts. Please forgive the length–I feel very strongly and thus I have a feeling I’ll be quite long-winded.
A slightly upsetting thing happened to me this week though, at work. We got cupcakes for one of my coworkers for his birthday. We gathered and sang to him (I’ll call him Antonio), but then conversation turned to another girl here (let’s call her Amy), and we asked about her recent trip to California. Amy was telling us about her friend (I’ve nicknamed Liz) who got engaged while they were all there and how this girl is kind of crazy. (Amy’s word, not mine.) Liz is so focused on getting married and having babies that she’s actually scared away guys. I do agree that she seems a little overbearing in her rush to pick out engagement rings, but if she knows what she wants out of life, why shouldn’t she go after it? (I mean, slow down and all, and make sure you’re not just out to have a wedding—that’s a terrible reason to get married.) But anyway. Another coworker, I’ll call her Samantha, said something then, that was actually insulting to me and the way I live my life. She just said, very matter-of-fact, that “fairytales don’t exist” and there are no “Prince Charmings or soulmates” and all.
Well. I believe in fairytales and happy ever after and soulmates and all of that! I’m tired of people equating this with being naïve and unrealistic. I do know that terrible things happen in the world. Humans can be incredibly cruel and unforgiving. But I CHOOSE to believe that we’re ultimately good and capable of extraordinary acts of compassion and kindness. I don’t want to be cynical and jaded—I don’t want to go through life expecting things to go wrong. If that is how Samantha chooses to live her life, that is fine but it is unfair to try to “set me straight.”
I have not lived a perfect life. I have had bad moments, sad moments, and terrible luck. It takes effort to see silver linings. But it is worth it. It bothers me that my optimism is equated with being unrealistic or naïve. What is so wrong with striving for a cheerful disposition? Why shouldn’t I believe that everything will be OK in the end? I’m hopeful for good things for me and for everyone I know. It is hard, sometimes, to be friends with people who are constantly down, emotionally. Take “John” for example. We’ve been friends since we were in high school. He can sometimes be pretty negative. He works hard for what he has, but he wants more. John wants a girlfriend and a good job and a degree. When we talk, just by my nature, I try to point out the good things when he’s talking about the negatives. You can’t cheer someone up though, who doesn’t want to be cheered. And that is OK. It won’t stop me from being his friend, and I’ve got enough optimism to go around. I can be cheerful for the both of us.
But someone told me that I shouldn’t “take the way I view the world for being the way the world actually works.” That is insulting to me actually. That sounds like a longer, slightly nicer way of telling me I’m unrealistic. Why is MY viewpoint the one that is wrong? Why do they feel I have to be set straight? Isn’t it worth it to live in hope rather than despair? I’m going to teach my children this as well, one day when I’m a Mommy. They absolutely should believe in fairytales and happy endings. They should strive to create their own fairytales. I don’t want them to just sit there and expect the world to happen to them—that isn’t what I believe in at all. But they can believe in soulmates. And let me clarify something there too. My fiancé is truly my soulmate. He didn’t sweep in and rescue me from anything. I was already a happy girl, living in DC again. I reconnected with him though, and it was like “this is the guy I have been searching for all my life, only I didn’t know it until I found him again.” It can’t be explained to people who have never experienced it. (How do you explain a gut feeling to someone who isn’t having the same gut feeling?) I didn’t need him to make me happy—I was already happy. But now that I have been with him, I can’t go back to the way my life was before. Just by being part of my life, he’s given it more depth and meaning and inspiration and love than I ever knew was possible. He hasn’t changed me. (Except in small ways, for example: now I fancy Dunkin Donuts coffee, which I never did before. And I might be willing to give the iPhone a chance over my Android…) He loves me more than I ever thought anyone could. I want to be with him forever and I just know, deep down, that I will be. So, then why shouldn’t I express my happiness? I was also told that I’m being unkind to others by constantly posting on Facebook about how happy I am, that it seems like I’m rubbing my happiness in the face of others who are less than happy. That comment was made by someone who doesn’t know me very well. I would hope that those that do know me well will understand that I’ve always wanted to share my happiness and excitement with others. It is something I’ve always done—that if it makes me happy, maybe it will make others happy too. I love to make others happy. Everything anyone does will be subject to the interpretation of others though—especially on the internet, people love to tell you what your intent and meaning was.
This is rather a touchy topic for me. This is not the first time I’ve been told I’m unrealistic and varying degrees of stupid for living my life the way I choose. That’s just it though. It is a CHOICE. You have to make that decision to see the good everywhere you go. And maybe I’m a little too sensitive to this. Perhaps I’m taking offense where none was meant. I can assure you though, that I normally try to consider the thoughts of others behind their actions. Perhaps Samantha was not aware of my feelings. Was she feeling particularly despondent the day she said this to me? Did she think she was doing me a favour by trying to educate me? She’s older than I am so perhaps her life experience is telling her that I’m only setting myself up for disappointment and thus she’s trying to save me from something bad.
But then again, I CHOOSE to believe that she wasn’t trying to offend me. It is my silver lining in all this.
“Oh. It is only 5 degrees outside? Well the sun is shining and that makes the snow look like glitter and it is a glorious sight to behold.”
“That girl didn’t call you back when you asked her for a date? Oh, well she was French and you know what they say about the French. You’re better off.”
“I’m having trouble finding a job in CT. Well it is practise for what it’ll be like each time I move with my Love in the military.”
“I only see my fiancé for a weekend at a time, and not every weekend either. Well it is also practise, for making it through deployments.”
As my good friend Leia said, “sometimes the good things are smaller than the bigger bad things and that is OK.” Sometimes they’re really hard to find, but they get easier to find the more you look, and soon it becomes second nature. I have days where I feel low. I’m not perky and upbeat all the time, but I’m always trying to be and that’s what makes me different I think. Overall, I do truly believe that I’m living a fairytale and my happily ever after has already started and will never end. You have to have bad things or else how would you know you had good things? But that doesn’t stop me from being happy. And I think society overall would be a better place if this was the general mentality.
I’ll start with myself and teach my children that and maybe by setting an example, others will follow in my friends and family circles. Life is tough enough. There is no need to make it harder by being cynical, judgmental, jaded, pessimistic, rude, negative, etc.
Anyway. I’m finished with this one today. I’ve waxed on for over 1500 words now. Thanks for listening (reading) though! Maybe I’ll write next about my upcoming transition from a Florida girl to a transplant in New England. Brrr!