The Grateful Realist

Glass half full/empty

I’m one of those people who is always looking for the silver lining.

Not the minute that I get the wind knocked out of me, and not in the minutes when I am catching my breath. But after I have checked all my limbs to make sure that nothing is broken, I will evaluate what in the situation might be cause for gratitude.

I know that some people find this characteristic annoying because they call me an optimist in a tone that is intended to insult me. Like I wasn’t smart enough to realize how bad the situation is. But I am not an optimist, I am a grateful realist.

An optimist is a person who tends to be hopeful and confident about the future or the success of something. I observe the world around me, my body, my thoughts and seek the good in the present moment. Optimists are looking for a sunny future. I find a now with weather.

My four children are all adults now, but when they were little I had a strong sense that at each stage: babyhood, toddlers, elementary until …..well, even now… each stage there were things I loved and things I did not like.

Babies have that sweet baby smell, and there are few sounds that warm my heart as much as a baby giggling uncontrollably. However, none of my babies slept through the night until they were well past their 9 month check-up, and in my exhaustion I just slogged through the endless laundry.

Toddlers are adorable with their round little faces and curiosity and joy in discovery. The endless questions are exhausting and grocery store tantrums are a right of passage that is so common and predictable that it had me reassessing how smart I really was if I couldn’t avoid them.

What I came to understand fairly early in my parenting career was that all of these stages were transient. All of the things I loved, as well as the things I did not, would pass. I saw clearly that I could focus my attention on the things I didn’t like and be miserable or I could focus my attention on the things that were treasures and feel a well of gratitude. Either way, time passes. But I can choose how I experience the moments as they fly by.

I choose joy.


  1. Hi Fawn, Lovely post. I forwarded it to friend who was grousing this morning about the pandemic.
    ps: I didn’t understand this sentence (at the end of the 4th paragraph) “I find a now with weather.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not looking for always sunny weather. I am in the present and there is weather. Some times it is sunny and sometimes it is a tornado. I’m not wishing for something different. I note the circumstances and look for what makes me happy in the moment. Make sense?


  2. My philosophy, too, along with making lemonade out of lemons. Even the worst things that happen in our lives always have a silver lining, usually unexpected, and generally a cause for gratitude. At least, this is the wisdom of my nearly 56 years!! Always enjoy your posts, Fawn, whether practical or philosophical, thankyou.

    Liked by 1 person

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