People frequently say that it is difficult to be optimistic if you live on the Earth long enough. When human beings are young, they may still believe in much talked about “American Dream” which presupposes that everything can be achieved if only a person believes and puts enough effort into something. But when people grow older, this idea becomes more and more an illusion. So, what happens to them? Are people right when they pass from being an optimist to being a realist and, further on, a pessimist?
In my opinion, to be an optimist or to be a pessimist is not so much a matter of circumstances a person is put into, but more of a choice he/she makes for herself. Your attitude to the situation is one of the few things that cannot be taken away from you. From my own experience, I can say that optimism saved my life and gave me hope. When I became a single mom with two children to take care of and unfinished college education, I thought that will never believe in existence of bright future again. First of all, I started worrying about the financial aspect of my children’s living and took one more job. Although we could make ends meet, constant sleep deprivation, stress and exhaustion led to prolonged depression. It seemed to me that everything is out of control; I felt myself neglected and left to the mercy of cruel fate. Children needed a father, and I had to learn how to perform two roles in their lives: both of being a father and a mother. Absence of spousal relationship was also affecting me a lot. And the worst was that I had to make everything seem all right for the sake of my children. Their happiness was always a priority for me. Every day I prayed to God and asked him to help to overcome this horrible period of my life. And I can say now that my prayers were heard. It began to dawn on me – what if I see the situation in the wrong way? What if everything is not as bad as it seems and the only problem is my attitude to the things that happen to me? I realized that positive thinking can help me to live a happier life and to set a better example for my children. I decided to define positive aspects in the life of a single mother. It turned out, that this situation made me really strong and self-reliant woman, who can do everything by herself. For instance, now, when I am a single parent, I learned how to fix a car and what to do if the pipe is leaking. I don’t ask my neighbor to help me with electricity – this is not a problem for me anymore. My new life challenges me and I fight back. If some time ago I saw problems on my road as insurmountable obstacles, now I view them as opportunities to learn more and to become stronger. When I became an optimist, I figured out that I could do more than I thought and had some hidden skills. Now, when I opened up to see the bright side of life, I understood that I have a solidary family in which everyone depends upon each other. My older child helps me with household chores and takes good care of younger sibling, and this gives me the opportunity to study for college. Life is difficult, and this is a fact, but the way you respond to the challenges it puts on your way makes you either a victim or a survivor. The choice is not so much about what happens to you, but about your attitude to it and its further influence on your life. The difference between an optimist and a pessimist in any situation is that the first one instead of bouncing back is looking forward (Paulson, 2010). Our life is granted to us and we are to learn to be happy, at least because we are walking on the Earth. If a person chooses to be a pessimist she or he loses the opportunity to live to the full in this finest of the worlds because of the fear of failure. Optimist, on the contrary, sees life as a gift that can’t be wasted. It is too short to spend it on thinking about one’s unfortunateness. I can proudly say that I became an optimist, and it changed my miserable life.
Optimism saves lives, enables you to do things you did not dare to do before, and gives you the desired hope. Of course, pessimists may be right, and optimists may be wrong, but only optimists make great changes in the world. Optimism is a kind of an eternal driving force that moves the world and people forward, makes the universe a happy place.