So I know that I will lose massive cool points for admitting this (like I had any to begin with), but I am a hopeless optimist. Being in my mid-20s and living in DC, I feel like I am definitely in the minority in this. I look around and see myself surrounded by cynics; by people that have stopped believing in the inherent good in others; by people that don’t believe that tomorrow will, in fact, be better than today. It’s exhausting being an optimist sometimes. It’s tiring to get through a stressful, horrible, long day and to still be in a good mood because, hey, tomorrow has to be better right? It’s tiring to face disappointment after disappointment and still feel compelled to run, head first, into the situation yet again because you are convinced that this time it will be different.
It’s not like this is a choice I have made. There are some people that wake up and choose to face the day full of hope and positive thoughts. Not me. I wake up and there they are. Some days, I wish they would just go away because i would be so much easier to be cynical about the world and about my place in it. It would be awesome to end a long day and just be pissed off because it was a long day. (Ok, I do have days like that. It’s true. But they are few and far between.) But, mostly, at the end of a long day, I’m just ready to have a drink with friends and look forward to how good tomorrow must be.
It’s not like I haven’t had my fair share of hardships to go through. I have had this outlook sorely tested more than once. But each time this outlook was tested, it was also reinforced. Freshman year of college was awful. I ended the first semester clinically depressed and convinced I was all alone. My experience of the first semester of college ended with me in and out of therapy for nine years dealing with the issues that surfaced during those four months. But, if I had not gone to that school and had that experience, I would not have ended up at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College where I had three of the best years of my life and met some of the best friends I’ve ever had.
In 2006, I skied into a tree (yes, I know, you can laugh). I fractured my back and my neck; shattered my upper left arm to the point where I have a plate in that arm to hold the bone together; broke my wrist; broke three fingers; and fractured multiple ribs. I spent 4-5 days in the ICU with a breathing tube because I couldn’t breathe on my own. I spent another 4-5 days in the hospital (for a total of 9 days) relearning how to walk and ensuring that I didn’t get pneumonia from liquid build up in my lungs. I spent 3 months recuperating at home after that. Through this all, I was showered with love and well wishes from all corners of my life. People I hadn’t thought of in ages sent me get well cards and prayers. People came out of the woodwork to send my Dad and I food so we wouldn’t have to worry about cooking. My mom’s company in North Carolina was incredibly flexible with her schedule so she could be home more often to help out. All in all, my faith in humanity was completely reinforced. As someone that needs to see that people care, as someone who has problems with trusting in the feelings of others, it was amazing to have this flood of well-wishing. Not gonna lie, I still have most of the cards I got and still read them from time to time.
I know I must piss people off with my optimism. With my insistence that, no really, it WILL be better; there IS a reason for this. Who’s to say that today’s awfulness isn’t going to lead to something amazing tomorrow or next week or next year. I can hear it in their voice when I talk to them. I do let people vent and I do keep these thoughts to myself, but they know what I’m thinking. I really just want to scream sometimes that I can’t help it. This is who I am. I am going to be the one that thinks that it will all be OK. I trust that there is a reason behind it all, even when faced with total and complete irrationality. That’s me. And I won’t apologize for it.