Optimisim, You Say?

"Optimism? It's a mania for insisting everything is great when, really, we're all wretched." - Candide

Sunday, June 20, 2010

It Was the Best of Times . . . It Was the Worst of Times.

At least once in our lives, we have one of those luminous moments where fate, coincidence, or both completely juxtapose our previous perspectives. This past week, I was gifted with such a moment.

I've previously blogged about my laundry list of misfortunes. Indeed, that laundry list is the very inspiration for this blog, which I started because I was determined to abandon my bitterness and embarassment about the recent state of my life by exploring what was once my trademark characteristic: optimism. Yet, just last week I was presented with another such misfortune: I, and all my hourly counterparts, were laid off (some of us with severance, some without.)

Now, following the logical progression of the last few years' events, one would think that joblessness would send me spiraling downward toward despair and cynicism, especially given the nature of the events (bad pregnancies, financial ruins, elective and then cancer surgery and chronic illness). For some reason, however, it didn't.

Quite the opposite.

Maybe it was the promise of a fresh new start, of a new career, of meeting new people, of more mental stimulation. (For one thing, in this economy, the layoffs weren't really a shock.) Perhaps it was the idea of being able to reinvent myself, put pictures of my boyfriend on my desk for the first time in almost 2 years, or because I've already had promising interviews. Whatever the reason, despite my obvious initial shock and occasional depression, I cannot stop feeling overwhelmingly . . . . free.

I feel really fortunate. It really wasn't the worst thing that could happen. I still have an extremely supportive significant other, lots of friends, and a handle on my cancer. My family is relatively healthy and happy. I graduated from college. I finished another marathon. I've been hitting my workouts for weeks.

It's almost as if I've been given a chance to truly start over. And I welcome it with open arms.

To the next chapter.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Confession: I Used to Hate Weddings

Confession: I used to hate weddings.


I mean, think about it: they’re usually a clusterfuck.  I’m respectful of tradition and rituals – to use an example from the weekend, I don’t take communion in a Catholic church because I was baptized protestant, more out of respect for the church’s traditions than concern for myself.  But weddings are frequently more about vanity than tradition, and they’re not terribly efficient.  You spend (waste) entirely too much money on an event that lasts one day and leaves you with nothing but pictures and a big mess to clean up.  Oh, and a dress you’ll never be able to (or want to) wear again (which, by the way, is the most uncomfortable dress you’ll ever wear, and which you must size up at least two full dress sizes to purchase, and in which no one usually looks attractive unless she is a real-life size 6 or smaller).  Then you get forced to take pictures of yourself doing things you’d never do in real life, and no matter how uncomfortable you feel about how you look, those pictures are there forever and people will beg you to see them for the rest of your life.  You have to get the two families together, even if they’ve never met before, narrow down a guest list, pick a wedding party (during which process someone always gets pissed because they got left out), and nail down all these tiny details like favors and food and cake flavors and ring bearers – any one of which could entirely wreck the day, which is supposed to be one of the most important of your life.


It gives me the vapors.


But I went to a wedding this weekend that turned out pretty nicely.  I was the best man’s date, so I’d been highly involved in the planning, and to see something that had been such a drain and source of stress turn out so beautifully was really quite  . . . . uplifting (aside from the fact that I caught a guest texting IN CHURCH during COMMUNION in the MIDDLE OF WEDDING MASS.  WHO DOES THAT?)


It left me thinking that there are a lot of things in life which seem initially stressful, depressing, inefficient and frustrating, but that turn out inspirational, enjoyable, encouraging, and satisfying.  So, maybe from now on, instead of judging everything by how useless the process seems, I’ll try to focus instead on the peaceful image of that lovely day where it all comes together and turns out (more or less) just right.