Friday, July 1, 2022

Optimistic or pessimistic, and can that be a self-fulfilling prophecy?

 HALLIE EPHRON: Last week the Boston Globe ran a piece about a Harvard study that came to the conclusion: "Women who are optimistic tend to live longer" (though as further reading indicates, researchers are "not exactly sure why.")

Here's the conclusion: "The 25 percent of women who were most optimistic were likely to have a 5.4 percent longer lifespan — or an average of about 4.4 years more — and a 10 percent greater likelihood of living beyond 90 than the 25 percent who were the least optimistic, the study said.


The difference between the lifespan of optimists and pessimists persists, the researchers say, across different ethnic and racial groups.

That got me thinking: am I an optimist or a pessimist?


When I was pregnant I imagined all kinds of terrible scenarios because, I told myself, "that way I can't be disappointed." When I've applied for something or been up for an award, I tell myself that I won't get it so I can say "Told you so" when I don't.

I’m sure traffic will be terrible so I get to the airport hours early. I’m always sure that if I have a medical procedure something will go wrong... I think a psychologist would call me “well defended.”

On the other hand, if something is hard to do and I want to do it, I assume I can if I keep at it.

Questions on a test like the Harvard questionnaire ask you to rate (agree to disagree) with statements like:

So, do you consider yourself an optimist or a pessimist, and do you think it's possible that lifespan is nothing more than a self-fulfilling prophecy?

JENN McKINLAY: I’m annoyingly optimistic.

It’s not that I don’t worry or have stress or get angry. I do all of those things. It’s just that I can usually talk myself out of expecting negative outcomes fairly quickly. When the Hooligans were hitting the stressful teen years, we made a habit of giving our worries and anxieties over to the universe because worrying really doesn’t do anything to help the situation.

Now that they’re older, when I start to spin out, the Hooligans remind me to let go of the worry, stress, or anger - because why suffer twice? Always nice to have your own words thrown back at you :) LOL.

I love this quote:



RHYS BOWEN: I think I was an optimist before the last dreadful years. During Covid the underlying fear influenced my life. Let’s say I’m cautiously optimistic. That doesn’t mean I’m not a worrier— the mom who sat by the window until her kids got home, imagining cars going into ditches.

When it comes to awards I’m thrilled if I win but genuinely thrilled for others if I lose. And I have amazing parking karma. A spot always opens up for me. I think I believe the best of people, that love should conquer hate… at least most of the time. Don’t ask me this right after the Jan 6 hearings

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Hmm. This is very complicated. I think I am an “eventual optimist.” In uncertain times I usually expect the best.

>>Ah, I’d say, I expect the best will happen eventually. Covid, the stock market, ketchup on the walls. But in the instant moment I do expect the WORST possible thing, but followed soon after by okayness.

If something can go wrong for me, it will.
>>Well, I deal with that by worrying. Er, I mean, planning. For every possible eventuality. Then when none of that happens but something else does, I have band width. But in my heart of hearts, I think things will be fine. Eventually.

I don’t get upset too easily.
>>It totally depends. I can INSTANTLY be upset when it’s called for, but it’s not usually my go-to reaction. And if it is, I can get pretty un-upset very quickly.. Sometimes even say to myself–next week, I will have forgotten this. So why not forget it NOW? Sometimes I say–next week, I will laugh about this–so why not laugh sooner?

Overall, I expect more good things to happen to me than bad.

>>Yes. I will admit that, and then knock on wood and throw salt and deny it.

LUCY BURDETTE: I do love that poem Jenn!

I would agree with cautious optimism. I do get discouraged, especially over the past few years with Covid and politics running wild. Even during the pandemic though, I was able to convince myself that there were big brains working on the problem and somehow we’d get out of it. (Which turned out to be partially true–all those amazing vaccines in such a short time!)

With the crazy politics, I can’t help thinking that most people will see the reasonable path, the reasonable compromise. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, I’m *fairly* good at compartmentalizing the bad stuff so I don’t get frozen. 

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I fall into the ridiculously optimistic camp. I always tend to think the absolute best of people, and even when I've been disappointed, it hasn't carried on to other relationships. 

Which isn't to say I don't realistically see bad things coming. At the very beginning of February 2020, I had a family sit-down and said, "This is like the first scenes of every disaster movie I've every seen, right up to the 'ominous news from distant lands' playing on the TV in the background. We need to prepare now." But I didn't panic, and I didn't assume the world was going to end and we'd all be eaten by zombies. 


One of the benefits of optimism is when dire events happen - you lose your job, the car dies, there are unexpected medical issues - you're more likely to focus on what you can actively do to ameliorate the problem, and eventually overcome it. Pessimists are the folks who sit down and wait for the zombies to get them.

DEBORAH CROMBIE:  What a timely post, Hallie, when it seems like there's a new bombardment of bad news every day. I've always considered myself an optimist, but I have to admit that the last few years have tarnished that side of the coin a bit. In challenging times, being an optimist takes more conscious effort and I'm determined to make it. Get out that gratitude journal, seek out the good news! And when things feel really overwhelming, read a book!

HALLIE: So what about you? Optimist? Pessimist? Hedging your bets and compartmentalizing to get through the day? 

94 comments:

  1. Definitely an optimist. Sure, bad things happen, but I think the best of people and I expect things to go right eventually.
    I have no idea about the lifespan thing . . . .

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  2. One upside of knowing lots and LOTS of U.S. history is that I know that the U.S. and its people have lived through horrible times before. There has ALWAYS been corruption, injustice, cruelty, greed, and evil, and yet the arc of our history has indeed bent toward justice. Knowing this gave me a basic optimism. However, the swift parade of recent Supreme Court decisions, capped by yesterday's ruling in favor of corporate profits over climate, when the time to correct course is running out, have shaken me badly. I'm sad and angry and very worried.

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    1. ADK, amen. Angry, furious and upset.

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    2. Yeah, thinking about Clarence Thomas's concurring opinion is scary, especially for us lawyers. If we can't rely on stare decisis, what CAN we depend on, and what do you tell clients? I'm sort of falling back on an old-fashioned phrase: "For the nonce." For NOW, the law is THIS. We'll throw in a few clauses to cover contingencies and cross our fingers. (I've been thinking a LOT about force majeure clauses since the beginning of 2020.) Air tight? No such thing. (Maybe a pessimistic lawyer thinks that, and the optimist lawyer heads disaster off at the pass with contingency clauses.)

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    3. I agree, hard times to be optimistic, that's for sure.

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    4. I have been wondering about force majeure too

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    5. ADK, yes, I am with you! I know enough history to say, to myself and grown daughters, "This is not the worst ever in our history, and we got through it." But lately, it gets harder and harder.

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    6. SCOTUS: Shame on you! Your recent decisions will affect generations to come, and also has repercussions around the world.

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    7. Triss, I was a U.S. history teacher before retirement so quite a lot is engraved in my memory. I know how often people have despaired in the past. However I also know how long it can take for injustices and other wrongs to be corrected and I'm very afraid our planet doesn't have 100 years.

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    8. ADK, totally agree with you. Yesterday's ruling was the last straw. My climate activist sister and I are going hiking today and will try to focus on the lovely forest and breathe deeply.

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    9. While you can.
      EMK

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  3. I'm in the ridiculously optimistic camp. I think it must be in my genes. Like Julia, when something bad happens, I get right to work figuring out how to make it better.

    Except for right now, having just read Heather Cox Richardson's essay from last night. We should all be very afraid.

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  4. Optimist here, although highly challenged in recent years. I'm married to Eeyore, who is constantly grumbling and expecting the worst, so staying positive has become rather more difficult lately. We seem to have swapped outlooks, oddly. He is so sure that everything will be fine. I think he needs his head examined. Maybe I'm more of a realist.

    I am normally not a worrier, though. My father-in-law once asked me why I wasn't freaking out over some adventure one of my daughters was on, and I told him he did enough worrying for both of us, so thanks. I could never see how that did anything but give a person frown lines. This, too, is being tested lately.

    And Rhys, I also have great parking karma. It's a gift!

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    1. I'm not a big worrier but I'm still not at all optimistic about where our world is headed. Human nature being what it is...

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    2. So true, Hallie. People can be so dang wrong-headed.

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  5. For me, I can be either a pessimist or optimist. It's a situational thing for me. My boss comes up with some crazy idea, I'm a pessimist because nothing he comes up with ever works out the way he plans it. After 25 years, I'd have to be delusional to be optimistic with each new idea. But I'm an optimist when it comes to whether or not I think my trivia team can win each week.

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    1. Hallie here: And how's your team doing, Jay? I do think optimism during a contest is a powerful thing.

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    2. Hallie, we finish in the money most weeks so we do pretty well. It is rare that we finish lower than 3rd. Last night we were second.

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  6. At heart I'm an optimist, although I think a realistic one, as in "Hope for the best, plan for the worst."

    My favorite example of the difference between an optomist and a pessimist, though: Something goes wrong and the pessimist says, bitterly, "things couldn't get any worse." The optimist, with a bright, ecouraging smile, says, "Sure they can!"

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    1. Hallie here: Love that quote...

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  7. I should have been named Cassandra. I have wailed about this disaster that I seem to be one of the few to see coming for a long time. Does that make me a pessimist and reduce my lifespan? I don't know but there was fellow on the CBC yesterday suggesting that we consider aging to be a disease so we could learn to cure it. The idea made me shudder. Who Wants to Live Forever? Better, I think, to have a clear eyed view of how ideas, history, politics and human behaviour are currently swirling. Also to understand that those will affect my world and all I can do is respond as ethically as I can. This is why I think literature is important. Especially when it focuses on justice and truth and, ultimately, ethics. Because a story can put all those things in context and illuminate a result. As long as people tell stories, humans will learn. Maybe not what we want them to learn but that is an opportunity to write different stories. That is my optimism.

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    1. Hallie here: I so agree with you on it being a terrible idea to "cure" aging. The planet needs more room on it and fewer people. Let's make room for the next generation.

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  8. Like JENN and EDITH, I am in the annoyingly optimistic camp. My recent years have not been fun with long COVID, prolonged post-cataract surgery blurry vision & other minor maladies. But people tell me they always see me smiling & I am a glass half-full type of person.

    And despite the enhanced police presence & return of freedom protesters, we are planning a peaceful July 1 celebration in Ottawa. HAPPY CANADA DAY!!!

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    1. Here's to a peaceful Canada Day in Ottawa!

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    2. Happy Canada Day, Grace!

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    3. Hallie here: If it were possible, Grace, many of us would be moving there.

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    4. Happy Canada Day to all, from the Prairies. Sunny and peaceful here this morning...

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    5. Hallie, that exodus has happened before! Harder this time, I expect.

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    6. Karen, here (annoyed at fighting with Blogger). Happy Canada Day to our Canadian pals here!

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    7. Hank Phillippi RyanJuly 1, 2022 at 10:21 AM

      Happy Canada day, dear friend! Xxx

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    8. Happy Canada Day from Quebec, Danielle

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    9. Forgot to say Happy Canada Day here, though I remembered to over at Instagram.

      Diana

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  9. Not really either an optimist nor pessimist. That implies expectations and I don't always think that way. I am cautious. I plan for eventualities. I put a beautiful knit dress into my backpack in case my suitcase doesn't show up with my gown for that wedding in California. I pack enough food for the flight in case all their offerings have honey on them. I bring grapes and tea bags. How long will I live, Hallie?

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    1. Hallie here: I award you those extra years! Because you're fundamentally optimistic that you can handle what life throws at you, and prepare for eventualities. Brava!

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  10. This is a brain/ mind question. I understand that brain chemistry can affect thoughts. Over the years I have come to understand this fact. This helps when I begin to ruminate about issues, or begin to feel useless, abandoned and so on. I do like plan for the worse, and hope for the best. I assume that I live in a chaotic random universe. This means that Plan A needs a back up, sometimes down to Plan Z to the 9th power. Happily I have learned to cultivate behaviors that lead to connection with the beauty of the world. This freshness applied daily keeps me chuggin' along, drinking from that glass of life; be it half full or almost all gone.

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    1. Hallie here: Love that image: me chuggin' along, drinking from that glass of life; be it half full or almost all gone.

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  11. I am such an optimist my family and friends tease me about it. I'm not a pollyanna in any sense, I simply believe that in the end, right will triumph.

    I'll admit it hasn't been easy to maintain an optimistic outlook these past few years, and it's been unsettling to have my sunny worldview challenged on a daily basis. But the alternative is despair, and I'm constitutionally incapable of despair.

    A now-deceased friend had a favorite saying that I conjure often in hard times: the universe rewards action. Wringing our hands does not change things. So get out there and march, and vote, and register others to vote. It's the only way good will win, right will triumph.

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  12. Hmmm. Not sure why that came up as Anonymous. C'est moi, your cheery pal Brenda Buchanan.

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    1. Hallie here: I think it requires a fundamental belief that as an individual I CAN make a difference. Which is the essence of optimism.

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  13. I'm pretty optimistic. I do usually expect things to work out and for the people around me to do the right thing.

    I guess there's no better proof of that than the fact that I retired yesterday, at the end of the stock market's worst first half in 52 years. Not what feels like the best timing, but I figure I just need to believe those financial advisors who told us we were prepared for anything.

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    1. Hallie here: Same situation here, Susan. I am feeling like I need to be much more diligent in counting my expenses and income. And living into my 90s is strangely unappealing.

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    2. Happy entry into retirement, Susan!

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    3. Hank Phillippi RyanJuly 1, 2022 at 10:23 AM

      Happy Retirement! what a milestone!

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    4. Happy retirement Susan ! Danielle

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  14. I'd say, overall, I'm pretty optimistic. I think things will turn out the way they should and for the best - sometimes after a long and bumpy road. After all, no one promised us easy, either. I can get upset easily, but I also get over it easily (something The Hubby has never understood - he keeps trying to get me to "control" myself, which really just shifts my anger to him - you'd think after 26 years he'd have learned to let me blow off steam and then get to problem-solving, but noooo).

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    1. Hallie here: Oh Liz that sounds like another dimension for a "mixed marriage." -but actually it's a good thing that he's not a blower-upper too. I tend to blow up, too, left to my own devices. It's not easy to be around.

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    2. Oh, I'm glad we don't both blow up - I just wish he'd learn to give me my space, let me blow, and THEN talk to me! LOL

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  15. By both training and experience, I too believe in planning for a worst-case scenario. I read somewhere, once, that life is a fatal disease that we all have. But to quote Monty Python, "No one expects the Spanish Inquisition"--or the Russian war on Ukraine. Or a pandemic (what if monkey pox is worse?)

    I think I do a lot of wringing of hands-- Oh, woe is me, what am I to do? Then I sleep on it, wake up with a fresh mind and map out a strategy. So if my initial inclination is to be pessimistic ("The world is going to end!"), in the end, I figure out a way to minimize the damages, and soldier on. I mean, if the world actually DOES end, we're all in this together, aren't we?

    I think that if you believe in parking karma, it will happen.

    Owen, who probably knew me better than anyone, once laughed at my wailing over a predicament and told me, "You'll figure it out. You always do." I've taken that as my mantra. If there is no one now to tell me that in a phone call from halfway around the world, that he once did still echoes deep in my brain. (I told him he didn't have permission to die before I did, but he did anyway. I thought the world had ended, but it goes on, probably assisted by all those quotes in my head.) I don't know that it's optimism so much as curiosity to find out what happens next.

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    1. Hallie here: Let's hear it for parking karma!!

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  16. Such an interesting - and timely - discussion. Me, I lean toward optimist. I get it from my dad, a person whose instinct was always to see if there was a brighter side. I refuse to worry without a reason (ie. after dr appt, but not before). These last years, it has been harder and harder, though. Lately, the clouds seem to get darker every day, don't they?

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    1. Hallie here: I wonder if they've explored whether there's a genetic component? I'm guessing there has to be. Probably related to how our glands and brain regulate our emotions.

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    2. Pretty sure I got mine from my dad, too. He was always smiling.

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    3. My dad was an optimist, too, and he always saw the best in people. Only as an adult did I learn that he'd suffered from terrible depression, so now I think that optimism was a conscious effort for him.

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  17. For a number of reasons, I am having a hard time being optimistic this week. I find that if I slow down and notice moments of beauty, it really helps my perspective. Here's another rhyme I learned as a child:
    The optimist fell 10 stories
    And at each window bar
    He shouted to his friends,
    "All right so far!"

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    1. That is so funny! Thanks for the laugh Gillian. Also I think Hallie's comment about a genetic component is probably true.

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    2. Hank Phillippi RyanJuly 1, 2022 at 10:25 AM

      Awwwww….. my dad told me that joke a million years ago—thank you for reminding me! Xxxx

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  18. I think I am a realistic optimist in that I can assess most situations and figure out what I need to do to get through a tough time. Next Tuesday Julie's getting a bionic knee. I’m sure that all will go well, but I’m prepared for the odd glitch. Today the house painters are here, complete with cherry picker. I’m confident that they will do a good job but also know it could rain, hail, or get too hot to work, slowing down the process.
    As for the state of the nation? I’m pretty sure the ketchup will come off the walls.

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    1. All best wishes for Julie's new knee on Tuesday, Ann! And for the house painting today.

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    2. Karen here: fingers crossed for an easy recovery for Julie's bionic knee! And I hope the paint color turns out even better than expected.

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    3. Send Julie our good wishes, Ann!

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  19. I read an interview about a Jewish women well into her 90's who lived in a concentration camp and survived. She spoke about how she continued to be optimistic throughout her life and feels that is what got her through life successfully.

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    1. Rhys: remember Anne Frank’s last words : in spite of everything she believed people were good

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  20. I think I am a realistic optimist, if that can be an option. I think most every hill can be climbed, unless there's a very good reason it shouldn't be.

    I really like Brenda's late friend's words of wisdom (from her comment above): the universe rewards action. I have always said, movement begets movement -- and that's why I tend to start climbing the hill in front of me, believing that each step is getting me further towards something new or good or better or needed.

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    1. I so agree.. taking action has always made me more hopeful.

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    2. Amanda: I think that is there is a fundamental human trait it is that they work, that is, they do things. It is a symptom of depression and anxiety to not have the interest to do something. Sometimes "doing something" means finding joy in the moment.

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    3. I have been an activist all my life. I DO, therefore I AM. But the Roe fight-- I fought that battle 50 years ago. I'm old, and I'm tired, and bad knees make it difficult to stand, let alone march. Ditto integrated lunch counters, "One man, one vote." Etc.
      EMK

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    4. In the 1990's and early 2000's I worked on a campaign to bring awareness to the importance of the federal courts. The "other side" was already working diligently to have their pawns in place. I still remember some of the lines from my speeches. I cannot begin to tell you how furious I am and how outmanoeuvered. Damn.

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  21. I'm probably more optimist than pessimist although I can envision the most terrible things happening to my loved ones. A friend once said to me that she thought of the worst thing that could happen and then of course it never did. The bad things are always things that catch us by surprise. So in general I believe that things will all work out, one way or the other.

    When I used to think of all the bad things that could happen I told myself it was so I could be prepared when it did. Then it was pointed out, by a character on the TV show Blue Bloods, that I was rehearsing for tragedy, which was a waste of time and emotion.

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  22. Hank Phillippi RyanJuly 1, 2022 at 10:29 AM

    I once gave the commencement speech where I had polled the graduates before the speech, asking two questions. One: What was the thing that terrified you the most on your first day of freshman year?, And two, did that ever happen?.
    Then I compiled the answers as part of my speech and bottom line: The terrifyingly thing they’d worried about never never happened.

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  23. The ketchup on the wall tells me we're heading into political darkness, but we the people are more resilient than we realize, particularly when it comes to the lives of our children and grandchildren.

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  24. Pollyanna. It's annoyingly true. I have always been a huge optimist, when bad things happen, well, I can usually find a reason and a way out. Like Jenn, I toss it to the universe and the universe always provides, even if I can't fathom how.

    That said, I prepare for the worst. I keep my first aid kit full and up to date, I keep my hurricane (now ice storm) kit at the ready in the appropriate season, I always have my electronics charged, I know where my woods hidey holes are located and I can survive on my own in any conditions (thank you, Outward Bound). Not sure if that's hedging bets, or simply giving the universe a hand up. Does make life interesting.

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  25. Earlier in my life I was a pessimist, but somewhere along the line that changed. I’m definitely an optimist now. When things go wrong, and sometimes they go horribly wrong, I have a gut feeling that somehow something good will come out of it, even if it takes years. This past year has been really hard for me, personally(health issues), and for my family (two sudden deaths in the past seven months, with the most recent having happened a week ago today). I can see glimmers of hope for us. I think my faith has a lot to do with this, too.

    As for the nation and the world, although I’m not happy about current affairs, I have hope that things will change, although I don’t think it will happen overnight. I remember when the Berlin Wall went up when I was a child. And I lived to see it come down, so…

    DebRo

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  26. Compartmentalizing is definitely helpful, Lucy, and I am very very good at it. LOL.

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    1. I think we have to compartmentalize. I don't think humans were built to process so much catastrophe from all over the world every day.

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    2. Agreed! I think that we have to compartmentalize for our mental health care.

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  27. HALLIE: Perfect timing for this post! I would say that I am cautiously optimistic. While I am optimistic, at the same time I do reality checks. I think it is important to give myself reality checks from time to time just to be sure that I am AWARE of what is happening in the world. The COVID pandemic has put a dent in my optimistic outlook. I believe that it is true that optimistic people live longer. There is a saying about people dying from a broken heart and I think that sums it up.

    Diana

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  28. I'm optimistically pessimistic. Or pessimistically optimistic, if you prefer. I can really be both given the situation, sometimes minutes apart. But I think I lean toward pessimistic.

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  29. Ha! What's the issue about the glass being half full or half empty? It's refillable!

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  30. Perhaps so many of us are essentially optimists because we are readers, and books have given us a perspective on life that keeps us from giving up.

    Although, like all of you, I find the world very dark at present for all the reasons already mentioned, in my own life I have been and continue to be very lucky, so it's hard for me to be anything but grateful. Sorry if that sounds saccharine, but it's true. In addition, I think my friends and family keep me optimistic, because I know that if I suddenly lost everything and was alone and destitute, I have many people who could afford to take me in until I got on my feet, and they would do it. Of course, if we all lost everything at the same time...! Well, at least then we could still get together and make each other laugh at how awful things were.

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  31. I am an optimist. The glass is half full but the waitress is on her way over to fill it. My father was a pessimist - the glass was half empty, and the waitress was not going to fill it, but rather bring him a new glass. Her fingers were in it and it was greasy and had lipstick on it. I don’t know if I learned to be optimistic in defense of his attitude. I recently was criticized by a friend for always seeing the best in people!

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  32. I think I'm generally an optimist though I do enjoy grousing about things. As a child I was a worrier. It drove my mother nuts. I've gotten past that and in the general scheme of things I expect we'll survive rough times. Right now we're in a stupid cycle but we'll eventually return to something approaching "normal." Healthwise I am always positive and expect no problems. The only thing I am negative about is my wish to travel the world. With Covid, the airlines' snafu, the war in Ukraine, etc etc I just don't think it will happen.

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  33. For me it's not a simple question. I think I'm more an optimist than a pessimist, but being prone to anxiety and depression can mess with that. I do take medication and that helps, but the last couple of years has seen my anxiety go through the roof. Still, there are signs that point to optimism, like thinking things will eventually get better and seeing a future in which the craziness of our country is resolved. I think by Julia's zombie reaction defintion, I'd be an optimist, not just waiting to be eaten by a zombie. And, Debs mentioning reading to combat those bad vibes is important. I think all readers have an advantage in dealing with pessimism. Looking forward to reading a book is a huge part of feeling positive.

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    1. I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t read for 2-3 hours each evening. Thank you Elly Griffin for this weeks entertaining distraction

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  34. I have always been an optimist who planned for the worst. Having a Plan A, B, C, and maybe even D feels reassuring. I'll be PREPARED. But the last few years have sadly brought out the cynic in me. I can't watch the news anymore except small doses because it makes me want to cry. So much evil. So much idiocy. I'm waiting for the good guys to overtake the bad ones but I'm not as hopeful as I once was.

    However, I practice staying focused in the present. Right HERE, right NOW, everything is fine. I'm working on NOT WORRYING over what a.) I can't fix and b.) might never happen.

    On a side note, I have no idea why Blogger no longer recognizes me on JRW. :-/

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  35. Susan Nelson-HolmdahlJuly 1, 2022 at 8:21 PM

    I would say I’m a cynical optimist, kind of an interesting mix. Husband, who works from home came up positive for Covid this morning. A long day figuring out where we both will be in the house for the next few days. We have a big house so space isn’t a problem, I just had to move all my stuff. Easily got him a prescription for Paxlovid. Cleaning, and putting in easy food supplies too, He usually does the grocery shopping, so that was an interesting experience. Have a good weekend everyone.

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    1. Oh, Susan - so sorry to hear - hopefully he'll be over it quickly and you wo't get it. We're all coming out the other end from getting covid after having been double vaxed and double boosted.... Enjoying a few weeks of feeling as if we have immunity before we go back to masking. That's the optimist's view.

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