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…..at 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.