Clarification – I am Not a Pessimist


A person who read my introductory post thought that it was a bit cynical and negative…for some reason. I assure you it wasn’t. I take my feeling of failure as its own kind of accomplishment.

And I’ve been growing into an optimist! Contrary to so many witty one-liners quoted on the youthful naïveté of seeing bright futures gradually declining to the point of bitter cynicism in old age as an inevitable part of the life cycle, how I translate external events in my brain has been much sunnier as of late. I was a bitter teenager, of course, and thought there were too many stupid people for the future to get any better. That attitude is no longer.

Somewhere along the line I realized that my happiness is almost entirely a choice, or a series of choices with the philosophy of happiness-by-choice in mind. You can choose to get angry at things. You can choose to be bothered by things. You can choose to worry. And you can choose not to do any of those.

It’s on a case-by-case basis, of course. Sometimes the anger, or the bother, or the worry proves to be worth it. Sometimes there is too much chaos around you and the mental resources to sort through why the little things aren’t worth any fuss are not available. Sometimes it just feels good to scream.

Those are, what we call in the business, “excuses”. Don’t get in the habit of using them. Using excuses is voluntarily giving up your choice to be happy. Nobody who uses excuses is happy. If you take responsibility for the things you do, even the minorly bad things, you can be happier. It’s the mature thing to do, and there’s less bullshit for other people to call on when they want to bring you down.

Pessimism, or at least the way in which it’s expressed by most of its followers, is an all-purpose excuse machine. When I came to this realization a few years ago, I got quite sick of myself and chose to change. It didn’t happen right away, and I’m still occasionally bitter like any other human being. I worked on it, and when presented with the opportunity to choose a positive reaction, or more often simply to acknowledge that it’s not my problem, I did so.

So examining the possibilities of where I had the potential to go but didn’t is only a depressing subject if you choose it to be. Where I am now is all from choices that I was well aware of at the time. I take responsibility for my life, and my happiness. So as cynical as some of the things that I write sound, take them with a grain of sugar. Not salt, salt is just further cynicism. Sugar is biting the inside of your cheek to hold back the smirk at how great you feel for conquering the negative.


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