― Roy T. Bennett (The Light in the Heart)
Life is back to normal here in South Florida. Dorian has passed us by and gone on to torment the Carolinas. The devastation in the Bahamas is unspeakable as recovery and rebuilding begins, and Mother Nature has once again proven herself a formidable foe. As I sat with my family on Monday, wondering if our house was indeed strong enough to withstand a category 5 Hurricane, I realized that we are all spending way too much time worrying about insignificant things. We need to appreciate what we have every day, because life throws way to many curves at us when we least expect it.
I just read an article that quoted researchers from Boston University School of Medicine and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health that was quite interesting. After studying 69,744 women and 1,429 men it was concluded that people who tend to be optimistic are much more likely than their counterparts to live to 85 years of age and beyond. Yep, that half full glass is looking better and better, and maybe those people who have referred to me as a “Pollyanna” all of my life should take heed to what I say. It is easier to believe that things will work out for the best than it is to count the ways that things might go wrong.
My life has not been perfect, and I have had to overcome my share of disappointments, but I believe it has been a positive attitude that keeps me smiling and will hopefully keep me alive for a long time. I spent many hours watching teachers in the teachers' lounge, and one thing was obvious to me through the years. The teachers who complained about everything (and yes, there was plenty to complain about) were always unhappy. They missed all of the high-lights of teaching (and believe me, there are so very many high points in a teacher’s day) because everything was clouded over with pessimism.
Pessimism can darken even the best of times. We moved into an amazing neighborhood several years ago. The homes are lovely, trees line the streets, birds flock around the lakes and the clubhouse offers tennis, pickle ball and bocce ball courts. There are art classes, card rooms, several pools and a bistro. Shows, lectures and movies entertain us and a gym keeps us healthy. The best thing about my neighborhood is the neighbors though. Most of them are friendly, considerate and always there to help. Those who were unable to handle their own hurricane preparations didn’t have to worry because neighbors did it all for them.
Yes, there are problems in my neighborhood. The landscapers overcharged and underperformed, the mail delivery person keeps losing the mail and our cable is out more than it should be. Sometimes I get frustrated, but then I look around and can’t believe how lucky I am. I feel truly sad for those who can not see the good through their haze of complaints. For them, the bad far outweighs the good, and some have moved in search of a perfection they will never find. By definition perfection is as elusive to the pessimist as a winning lottery ticket. They keep buying the tickets, but they know the numbers will never be right.
As we watched the news last Sunday and I saw the Bahamas being torn apart, I looked around me and realized that appreciating the people in our lives and the homes that protect us is the only thing that makes sense. Finding something in each day to make us smile and sharing the good we find with optimism and the knowledge that life is easier for those who see the good in it, is the thing that will keep us sane in this insane world.
That and books of course. This week I read/reviewed a thriller that did keep me company through the long hurricane vigil. Body of Evidence by Rachel Grant was a perfect story to keep my mind busy.
As always a complete review of this book follows my blog.