It’s so strange to really think of how much I’ve changed in the past year. What a difference your frame of mind makes! What a difference in your quality of life.
For reference, last year — and pretty much every other year of my adolescent life — I tended to lean more on the negative side of things. I thought this made me a) pragmatic and, b) very mature. Isn’t that always the case, though? We equate pessimism with realism and maturity, when they aren’t related at all. When someone is being pessimistic, we think, yeah, that guy’s lived a lot so he’s realer than anyone. He knows what he’s talking about. But when someone is optimistic, that person is suddenly “naive” and “childish”. As if wishing for the best outcome is a childish thing. As if, as we age, we’re meant to become old and bitter people.
I mean, what if we aren’t? What if we age and get happier or use a positive lens to look at the world?
In any case, pessimism. That was me. I used to say I was realistic and practical, but I can see in hindsight that those were just coverups. I was neither of those things — I was scared. I was scared of the bad, scared of the good, scared of the future.
But in the past year, I have really re-evaluated my outlook on life. I have attempted optimism. I have also prayed a lot. My findings are as such: when you expect good things to happen, they happen. When you believe you’re deserving of good things, they happen. And when you believe in bad things, they happen too. In that regard, it’s very simple. Of course, life likes to complicate things, but I’ve found recently that this basic tenet is true.
It reminds me of this story my Korean teacher told me about in second year of university. She said there was a social experiment where they first asked 20 people if they were optimists or pessimists. Then, they split them accordingly. They told the pessimists to walk down this street, and then they told the optimists to walk down it. What they found was the pessimists walked down the street and arrived back at the office in a decent amount of time, though empty-handed. The optimists, though, arrived back at the office but many of them had picked up money along the way. What had happened was the test organizers had put $20 and $10 bills randomly along the street, and it was only the optimists, who believe that at any given moment something good is waiting to happen to you, who could see them. The pessimists pretty much skulked down the street or paid no attention to the goodness around them because, by and large, they don’t believe that goodness can be found anywhere.
I don’t know why that story has always stayed with me.
Actually, I lied — I do. I was always the pessimist, but then when I heard that story, I really wanted to become the optimist so I, very naively, would keep my eyes open when I walked down the street. However! It’s not just about finding random money on a road — it’s about opening your eyes, your mind, your mind’s eye, to the good things that can happen every day. If you’re not in the mindset that good things are waiting around the corner, then how would you know what they look like? How could you possibly know what a good opportunity looks like when you’ve never seen one before?
Keep your eyes open but keep your heart open too — this is how I live my life these days, and it has made all the difference. 🙂 I am healthier, happier, and am so blessed in my daily life that I don’t even know what to do with it all. I think that’s maturity, more so than becoming old and bitter. It’s having the courage to be happy and seek happiness and spread happiness in a world where everyone else is taking the easy route.