Growing up, it would be fair to say that I was most definitely not optimistic – in fact I was a veritable pessimist. The philosophy that I held onto in my formative years was drummed into me by my father’s daily saying:
“Murphy’s Law says anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Sod’s Law says that Murphy was an optimist.”
I therefore grew up believing that if I focused on the worst-case scenario and assumed that even that would go wrong, then I wouldn’t be disappointed. For some reason I really didn’t want to be disappointed – I lacked joy because I was so focused on the negative, but it felt like an incredibly safe place to be. A life of expecting everything to go wrong and everyone to let me down meant that I wouldn’t be disappointed.
As I read back over my own writing, I feel a deep sense of sadness that this philosophy remained with me for as long as it did. I would like to say that one day I transformed instantly from Eeyore to Tigger and started bouncing around – that wasn’t quite the case. I’m not sure when I changed or how I discovered that being optimistic is so much nicer than being pessimistic – but I have and I did.
Optimism is about feeling hopeful and confident about the future and I do. Even in the midst of the current, dreadful crisis – an international pandemic, a lockdown and economical uncertainty – I still feel optimistic.
Covid19 has caused everyone to re-adjust and pause. My optimistic-self believes that this is an incredibly good thing for me, you, everyone else and our planet. We have come together to support one another – as friends, neighbours, families and educators. Air pollution has dropped and air quality is improving in many countries across the world. Educators have proved that they can teach young people even when they aren’t standing in front of them. Countries have come together to fight a common enemy. The list could continue but out of something so utterly dreadful so much good has come.
Will we really return to how we were or will Covid19 have made us think? As a child/ teenager I would have focused on the negativity that we can be surrounded with on the news and social media – you don’t have to look too far to find it. I would have told you that Covid20 was on its way and that we would all soon be dead. Don’t get me wrong, I know that we are going through a horrific time, lives are being lost everyday and that is heartbreaking. The optimist in me though wants to hope that we will learn from this and that when it is all over, we will be a cohesive world community focused on making our planet and our lives better again.
I don’t know who originally said this but I shall finish with this quote:
“After rain, there’s a rainbow. After a storm, there’s calm. After the night, there’s a morning. And after an ending, there’s a new beginning.”