Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Death of a Pessimist?

I've always sort of prided myself on my cynicism, held up my pessimism like a badge of honor. "It's not pessimism; it's realism." That's what a friend of mine always says when I call him on his bullshit. Isn't pessimism why I became a writer in the first place? So I could bitch about all the things I hate about the world and my life? I was going to blog today, not because I necessarily had anything valuable to say but because when things are slow at work, doing something creative for myself feels like a redemption of 8 hours at my desk.

Looking back at recent posts about how much I love my life makes even me a little nauseous, so I was wracking my brain for something edgy to discuss. Better yet, I wanted to write something fictional this time. Thinking I might cop out and post something I'd already written, I went through the files on my USB drive. There were a couple of short pieces that were still powerful to me in their anger and sadness. Fiction based on real life events…who am I kidding…line for line transcription of real life with the added lines of what I once wished I'd had the balls to say. But I couldn't post them in their hideous, post mortem honesty…because I don't feel that way anymore.

Somewhere along the way, the girl who was such a hard ass, who took joy in holding particular grudges, lost her grip on the past. Maybe it's that I don't have the energy for resentment. Maybe I'm genuinely too lazy to exert the force of indignation. I prefer to think of it as forgiveness.

I was reading a meditation the other day that said the only permanent thing in life is impermanence. I don't like that idea. All I (and most other people) want is for our happy moments (read: euphoric moments, not mildly contented ones) to last forever. But here's a piece of realism for you: continual euphoric happiness is completely unrealistic. Life is cyclical. Soaring highs. Abysmal lows. Some average stuff in between. I thrive on excitement. I hate the average stuff almost as much as the lows. At least the lows provide a little drama. Too bad, because I think the middle ground, which seems to make up the largest part of the cycle, is probably where daily happiness (yeah, the contented kind) exists.

The part of this that does make sense to me is that if I'm going to really enjoy every fleeting moment of where I am right now, I can't waste time and energy thinking angrily about how I may or may not have been wronged in the past (as though I'm perfect and everything was completely other people's faults). My new mantra: Let. It. Go.

I can't change 4 years ago. I can't change 3 months ago. I can't change 2 minutes ago. All I can do is move forward and create the kind of present that I want to live in. I can build better bridges in place of the ones I've burned. I can give the gift of seeing people for who they are today and not who they once were. I can try to appreciate the moments without trying to hang onto them after they're gone or spending all my time anticipating future ones.

So somewhere in all this forgiving and living, I've misplaced some of my cynicism. Making changes instead of bitching has softened my pessimism. I feel hopeful. I'm happy. And goddammit, that makes for very bad fiction. When was the last time you read a short story with a happy ending outside of a children's book?


1 comment:

  1. I am still pretty pessimistic but I may have to change after reading this. Alot has happened for me to be grateful.Great writing. Keep it up.