January 11th - Reach for the Stars

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

"No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit." - Helen Keller

For those of you who know me, would you consider me optimistic?  I think of my 26 year old self as an optimist, but that wasn't until a couple years ago when I started to read this book and change the way I view life and interact with the world. I used to be very pessimistic, and I disguised myself as a realist. I still try to be very realistic, but at the same time try to lean towards the more optimistic side of things. 

That's why when I read this quote from Helen Keller for the first time, it hit me hard. Like a load of bricks hard. I realized that I was a pessimist and had convinced myself that I was a realist. I had fallen for my own con. 

Where had being a pessimist gotten me? Let me tell you.

Sad, very sad, and nowhere.

So how do I become the exact opposite of what I am? How do I discover the secrets of the stars? Sail to an uncharted land? How do I let my spirit soar?

Sarah talked about the recession (I guess there have been a lot of recessions since the great depression, we are or were in one, she was in one) and how tons of people are "scaling down their expectations of what constitutes the good life, redefining their values, reordering their priorities, and accepting the challenge of making a virtue out of necessity." 

These changes don't happen instantaneously. "Lasting change happens in infinitesimal increments: a day, an hour, a minute, a heartbeat at a time."

She said to "realize the past no longer holds you captive...let the past go." It doesn't really matter what you were yesterday as long as you're reaching for the stars today.

"And according to his faith there was a mighty change wrought on his heart." - BOM

We don't have to do this alone. And it's going to take a physical, emotional, spiritual, and psychological change to get us there. 


Today I had a good friend come over for a play date, and we had a pajama day together. We laughed and talked, did laundry and made the most delicious peach lemonade while our kids played. The peach syrup was saved from all the cans of peaches we've eaten the last couple months, and the lemons were freshly picked from my Nana and Papa's tree yesterday...it was seriously perfect. Before she had come over I was grumbling about how mad I was. Today was the third day in a row my kids were driving me nuts, yelling, screaming, trying to kill each other. And then she came over, and the sunshine came out for an hour or so, we even opened up the windows to let in some fresh air. My kids then went down for a nap and they should have slept through my two piano lessons, but Chase woke up hysterical after the first lesson, and Jacob woke up 10 minutes before the lessons were over...also hysterical. He was so hysterical he stood on the stairs and had an accident. But I smiled and put him on the toilet and cleaned up the mess while the last student played their song again, and when my students left I gave my full attention to Jacob to help him calm down. I helped him figure out what he wanted, and we watched Elmo and how accidents happen and it's okay. Then we played with puzzles and made chicken parm for dinner (yum) and then they took a bath and played with the bathtub crayons for a good 30 minutes. 

I don't think optimism is the way most people think it is, like the stereotypical optimism where you're happy all the time or you're so blinded by it that you can't actually see what's happening. I think it means being open to being happy, to accepting your reality and choosing to act the way you want to. I could have been really mad about today, I could have yelled at the kids because they were yelling, I could have laid down and just cried, but instead I chose to love them and to focus and appreciate all the good that was in my day.

And at the end of it, it was a very good day.

Thanks optimism for letting me see that.