Active Optimism

There are, in my view now, two kinds of optimism. There is the pleasantly naive optimism that comes from living a relatively sheltered, loved life. This is how I would characterize my life heading into college. As I ran across the ups and the downs of true living, I ended up losing this naive positivism that runs along the lines of: “Anything is possible because I
haven’t failed before,” namely because I met with failure or adversity in various situations. (This could be dubbed “The coming of age,” or even more simply “growing up”.)

My optimism and energy that had sprung from life vibrant but unfounded withered. Over the next few years I found myself slowly becoming more jaded, cynical, and less energetic; even less intelligent. I lowered my expectations from life from seeking everything (freshman year my .plan read “To conquer the world, of course!”) to seeking only a few things, to
seeking very little at all, which is more or less where I found myself this morning in the shower.

But it occurred to me that optimism cannot survive long if it is passively expected to be. Energy cannot expect to simply exist and be tapped; it must be created. I remember various lazy Saturdays when I would just be sort of mellow and chilling around the house; my mother suggested I go do something energetic, like run around or go for a bike ride. “But mom,” I’d say, “I don’t have any energy to do that right now.”

“Ah,” she would respond, “but it takes energy to make energy.”

Optimism must be an active decision, not a feeling passively expected to come washing over one’s self. One has to go out and seize it. Energy and enthusiasm must be actively created in the face of passivity and complacency. We define our own worlds. And we not only can define our lives, but we must.

So I think I’m no longer going to roll out of bed in the morning and expect inspiration and passion and energy to come out from the closet and strike me and invigorate me. I’m going to go find them, wrestle them down, and clothe myself with them. =) Or at least that’s the way that I feel right now, freshly out of the shower.

 

Lack of Updates

There have been a definite lack of updates to my website over the last half year (early 2001-mid 2001). Some of you have been asking about this. Why have I slacked on posting? It’s because I’m going through some very painful and wildly confusing personal bits, and some of the parties involved happen to read my website. (One even asked to have access to my website blocked.)

Mostly, it’s because I feel like I have nothing useful to say these days; with my mind full of these personal issues, there has been less room for ideas, essays, and creativity. While it is true that sad people can produce some of the best artistic works, I think that happy people think best and most clearly. At the very least, such seems the case for me.

So I’m just going to try to keep on living and to heal and some day actually remember what it’s like to live life full of joy, enthusiasm, and optimism. I think I’ve lost a lot of that along the way. To what and how, I’m not sure. I think it’s just part of the natural process of life unless it’s radically countered. (It’s fantastic and inspiring to meet individuals leading such
uncorrupted lives; I am no longer one of them.)

In the meantime, for those of you who have noticed, I have been periodically updating the pictures section. I hope to put in a new engine for displaying and navigating pictures before long. If you bug me I’ll probably get it done faster. =)

Finally, if you want to hang out or chill and grab a meal, go running, or go for a swim, please tell me. I could use a little friendship. Because for the interim I’ve been disabused of notions of love and romance and perhaps would like something on the order of camraderie to replace them.