I am on the verge of losing my ability to access the big "O." Not that big "O", but one that I never had trouble obtaining before - Optimism. I always carried an optimistic attitude around with me, always rejoiced in life's everyday experiences, even those that challenged me. But, lately, I find I am more a prone to "o" than "O" and it's starting to really depress me.
Where's this attitude coming from and how do I get my "O" back?
In the past when something or someone encroached upon my characteristic
happiness, I could always find the lesson to learn from the experience. For
example, when I drove across the country in a 15-year-old van filled with two
small kids and a menagerie of animals, I worried about making the 3,000 mile
trek. Instead of worrying I'd break down in the middle of nowhere, my attitude
was, "If we end up in Nebraska, I guess that's where we live now." I
made the trip there and back and this is the truth, the morning after my return
home after that big adventure, I went out to the van to start it up and it was
dead, wouldn't start for anything.
In all the years I worked as a waitress, I could gauge the experience a
customer would have based on the attitude they walked through the door with.
The complainers always had a poor one: their food was undercooked, their coffee
cold; I believed that their negativity bred more negativity and I pitied them
their pessimistic outlook. In many cases my upbeat personality and gentle
cajoling could turn their piss-poor attitude into one that had them smiling
when they left the restaurant. My optimism was contagious.
I haven't watched news programs for years, preferring to get my daily dose
of what's happening from the printed word because I can read only the bits that
I want to read and I don't have the graphic horror stories imbedded in my mind
from the visual and audio impact.
Sometimes I feel as though I won't be an informed person if I continue to
ignore the news. I tried to watch the programs about this most recent American
tragedy in Colorado, but I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep or function well
during the day as I replayed the details in my head. Is it a Catch-22 we are
living in? Where the violence and depressive stories, via news programs and
Hollywood filmmaking, promotes violence in vulnerable individuals, which in
turn becomes our next big News Story? I've heard experts say that we can't
blame movie (or for that matter video-game) makers, that it's the individual
that the finger should be pointed to, but exactly what is it that is making
these individuals do what they do?????
I know that when I read and watch depressing stories I become depressed.
That's why I had this idea that I thought would transform the world. I wanted
to publish a newspaper called The Optimist
where the stories were all
about the good that takes place every day, like the number of successful
high-school graduates and not the dropout rate; like how many places in the
world are showing advances in technology, self-sustainment, and cultural
tolerance, not the starvation rate or massacres.
If negativity begets negativity, wouldn't the same be true about positivity?
I'd sure like to find out. I know from just my own personal experience in this
matter that I cannot function well when I expose myself to the horrors of
mankind rather than the beauty that this world and the people in it have to
I miss my big "O" and I am on a quest to get it back. Once I do, I plan on spreading it around.