I’m tired of pessimism. It is the world I live in. It is the state of things around my chunk of the party. I have often said that by the time people get to be about 40 they have seen enough pain, been abused and slandered enough, that it’s hard to be an optimist anymore. Most of us have more than enough reason to be pissed off.
My dad is an optimist. It would be fair to say that he is “the optimist”. If you got in a car accident and lost a leg he would encourage you and remind you how much cheaper it’s going to be only having to buy one shoe. That’s my Pop. They don’t call him “Happy Howie” for nothing.
Annette likes to talk about how, no matter what news you give my dad, he somehow makes it sound like a good thing. He recently released his memoirs and named the book ever so aptly, “Life is Great. And It’s Getting Better”. My kids hold him in near-mythical awe. When I recently told one of my sons that I was buying my dad’s old CRV he turned to me with a straight face and said, “You’re so lucky, Grandpa sat in that seat.” It does not suck to be my old man.
I want to get better, getting old. So mature and wise that I think I understand the meaning of life. And cool. Someday I hope to be cool again. I think I’ll wear a fedora everywhere and put on suits again. And flirt with younger women. Give out sage advice with a wink. Have my first mint julep. Spend some time in California with my two buddies who live there. I’m going to float on a small boat in a hot place with the woman I love.
I go to seek the great “perhaps”. Perhaps the next part of our lives can be the best part. Perhaps this time we can deal with it and let it go. Perhaps there will be more time for good friends and food, more moments lying on the grass in the sun and swinging little children. And laughter.
One of the surest signs that a person is working through their depression, for example, is the renewal of hope. One day they come into my office and don’t talk the way they did in our previous appointments. They walked a bit more, talked a bit more, and felt a few more somethings. I am constantly surprised when this happens, and it happens around this office quite often. We can never identify the “when” and rarely even the “why”. It just happens. Hope can do that to a person. Allowing yourself to think about a different and happy future is one of the first – and always one of the most important – steps in any recovery.