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Monday, August 25, 2008

The Pessimist In Me

I've always thought of myself as neither a pessimist or an optimist, instead I go with the trite but accurate, "I'm actually just a realist." Because some people really don't see the glass as half full or half empty, we just drink it until it's gone. If I had to peg myself though, I probably would lean to defining myself as an optimist. You know, because being a pessimist is just such a downer.

But lately, I've started to think maybe I'm really a pessimist in denial.

For example, the Olympics. I know they are like the greatest celebration of sport, athleticism, world peace, and good feelings, but I got to admit: every time someone gets a gold medal I can't help but mentally indict them for doping. That's just the way I feel, so don't bother arguing with me. Maybe it's just the pessimist in me, but I just can't have good faith in clean sporting. Don't get me started on the Chinese gymnasts being babies.

Also, men buying flowers for women at the grocery store. What do you think when you see that? Because I'm not going to lie, I always think they're trying to say sorry for beating their wife the night before. Is that pessimistic? Or just realistic? So hard to say, but that's what I think every time I see a man in the checkout line with flowers in hand.

The English teacher in me is clamoring for a third example, but the mother in me is being called away by a three-year old who should be in bed but is instead marauding through the house shooting an imaginary laser beam from his wrist.

But I also told Rhett years ago that I thought Russia was going bad again. That turned out to just be realism, but I think he thought I was just being pessimistic.

And you? How do you know you are a pessimist? Or how do you know you are an optimist?

19 comments:

TheMoncurs said...

As a teenager I was a hopeless optimist. But I really think I'm just a realist these days. Don't really see things as positive or negative, I just tend to accept things as they are.

When it comes to the Olympics, though, I think I'm an emotionalist. I swear I cried at every single medal ceremony regardless of who won.

Sarbear said...

I think I used to be an optimist. Every movie I saw had some merit no matter how bad because it entertained me for a while. Since being married I've become more of a pessimist or maybe a soft optimist, but I think that is from my husband's influence. I was happier as a full optimist.

When I see a man in the checkout with flowers I think he's buying them for his wife's birthday or something.

Regarding the olympics the gold medalists may have had some help from drugs, but at least they had the drive to work to get there. If I took steroids I would probably just grow a beard since I don't have the drive to work so hard at a sport.

Heather of the EO said...

Another realist here. I want to be positive, but many times experience has proven me wrong. Sad but true.

I'll admit something even worse than thinking negatively about Olympians. I don't even watch! GASP!

JustRandi said...

Ha! I'm an unfailing optimist. How else could you explain why I keep thinking that THIS time I'm going to lose the 15 pounds.

kelly said...

I think I'm a pessimist. I'm always suspicious of people and their motives.
Also, I know this is going to make me sound heartless, but I don't give money to pan-handlers because I'm certain they are making more money than me doing that.
And, when my husband does or says something nice, I always think it's because he wants sex. Which, he always does, so it's kinda hard to test that one out...

Dana said...

Is it possible to be a pessimist on the inside, but an optimist outwardly? I will admit to sometimes thinking pessimistically, but I usually try to be an optimist, because so many people around me are pessimistic.

I know, I'm just sick...

Cathy said...

I wish I was more of an optimist, but reality always slaps me back! I have tried to be one who "waits for all the facts" before I say too much!

@my said...

I really think I am bi-polar:)

Cause there are days I am a little of both. You probably already knew that didn't you:)

Ok so how did the sending off of a kinder-kid go? Are you crying?

I didn't last year until the 2nd day!

Beck said...

I'm a cheerful pessimist. I always expect the worst and it never lets me down!
My husband brings me grocery store flowers all the time, however, and he is the utter opposite of a wife-beater. He just thinks that they might cheer up his mopey, mopey wife.

Carol said...

Pessimist through and through. What can I say you know how I love the drama.

You know when I knew Russia was going bad? March 1998 when I had to endure Polina for a whole month.

I knoew it was down from there on.

Bea said...

Pessimists always say they are realists. And conversely, realism is in fact pessimistic. Most people overestimate their abilities and prospects, and in fact optimal psychological functioning seems to depend upon achieving exactly the right amount of such overestimation - too high and we're confronted with cognitive dissonance; too low and we get depressed.

Claire said...

My mantra is... always think the worst of a situation- then you can only be pleasantly surprised. But if you think the best of a situation and the opposite is true, then you're always going to be disappointed. I actually walk around with a grey cloud over my head. I'm a miserable sod. :)

Suzanne Barker said...

I'm definately an optimist and am surprized to see myself in the minority!
I always try to thing the best about people until proven otherwise.
I worry about why you think so badly of men buying flowers in grocery stores!

jennie w. said...

I'm an optimist but I'm always trying to be funny. Pessimism is funny, optimism is nauseating. So I guess I just outed myself as an optimist.

I always give money to panhandlers. And a bottle of water.

Melissa Bastow said...

I don't know. But either way, I think I'm unrealistic because things are never turning out like I had pictured them in my mind. Can I just choose "wrong"? Is that an option? I could try to figure out which I am more of, but really, I'm just wrong. Oh, and the 3 year old shooting the imaginary laser beam at bedtime- funny, and probably annoying, but still funny.

Sexanasty said...

-Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in The Beatles, I just believe in me." Good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus. I'd still have to bum rides off of people.

Erin said...

i saw a guy at the store yesterday buying a dozen yellow flowers and my first thought was "i wonder what he did wrong". i think that every time i see guys buying flowers too.

Bisel Family said...

Can I be both? I might just be a realist, but I feel like a pessimist when I feel like I am just being honest. How's your day? Is it okay to say it is crummy, when...in fact...it is crummy? I digress. I'm both, an optimist when it fits my fancy, and a pessimist when I am feeling grumpy, and a realist all the time.

The Rookie said...

To brazenly steal from the Luvs commercials: You live. You learn. And then you become a pessimist.