Sunday, October 09, 2005

Rumors of My Optimism Are Greatly Overexaggerated

Expect the best, aim high, make your own dreams come true. To an extent, I believed it. I absorbed it and lived it. But the truth is that optimism ruins everything. If you aim low, and good things happen, you're surprised. If you aim high, and miss the mark, you're supposed to make do with "at least I tried." If you meet someone with no expectations and that person is amazing, then you're twice as happy as you would be if you always expected it. However, when you have high expectations, you're almost always bound to be disappointed. I'd like to believe in magic, always look at the bright side of the penny, know in my gut that the next opportunity is right around the corner, if only I could be patient. But everytime I dip a tentative toe into optimism, reality, like a snapping turtle, tries to bite my legs off. And it's like I said earlier, you think I would have learned by now: horse first, then cart. Somehow, it never seems to work the other way round.

11 comments:

annabel lee said...

Ohhh...sorry to hear it. I'm thinking it's about time to invest ine one of those horseless carriages, personally...

Anonymous said...

I've always said that if people would treat each other with the kindness and care that we typically show our pets, we'd be much better off in most respects. Most folks just need a bit of attention, some TLC and to be fed and watered regularly. How difficult is this, and why is it that we can somehow turn this into a an impossible task?

So count me solidly on the low expectations side. This need not negate any optimism, just harness it to more firmly to reality perhaps. You'll often be surprised on the positive side that way, unless you're following Bush. But that's another story.

And yeah, I still can't get over the fact that you think you've discovered at least 2 close enough to be considered 'SMs'. Most only get a chance at one, or a fraction of one. Or the one that got away. Again, if the sitch were to hazard to occur again, I'd be in favor of converting them. And in extreme circumstances, I'm in favor of impressment too.

Cheers & Good Luck Esther, 'VJ'

Anonymous said...
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Passionate Life said...

OH E! You are notorious for putting the horse before the cart. In the J-Lo saga you were extremely skeptical that it would work. Result – J-Lo is happily married and about to pop out a wee rugrat.

In the Tzip series you were handing out the Mazel Tovs and we all know what happened with that whirlwind.

But despite all that, somehow keeping optimistic WITHOUT having great expectations seems to be the right balance.

Having said that, I have a good feeling for you in this year of our Lord 5766. Heaven knows you are looooong overdue…

If you build it, he will come…

The First Date Chick said...

Maybe once in a while it's good to put the horse behind the cart? Especially on the downhill. Give that poor horse a break from pulling, and the poor cart a break from being behind a horse's a$$ all day.

Scott Cunning said...

I'm of two minds on this.

On the one hand, there's logic to what you say. As Dennis Prager puts it in his sublime book, HAPPINESS IS A SERIOUS PROBLEM, we should minimize or eliminate expecations, for they are the root of disappointment and misery.

On the other hand, I also do find a lot of practical truth and experiential confirmation of what Joel Osteen says in YOUR BEST LIFE NOW: Your life will follow your expectations. Attitude IS everything, and you won't even see the good that's there, let alone be in a position to create any, if you expect none.

I think the best way is probably some middle road: Expect good things, increase, improvement, but don't burden yourself with overly-specific good expectations when you really have no reason or way to know...don't set yourself up for disappointments, but keep looking for the best.

simcha said...

One reason I'm writing here is I can't believe 13 people answered that fakokteh column on Fresca, and I didn't want to be #14. With all admiration.

I try to follow the advice of Mel Brooks from "The 12 Chairs", which is "Hope for the best, expect the worst".

I'm also trying to remember the reasons my parents got married, which I think were to move out from their parents, and have sex and kids with the best deal they thought they could get in the neighborhood.

I suspect "SM" in Anonymous's post doesn't mean sadomasochist. Does it? Just curious. Simcha

Lyss said...

At this point in my romantic life I'm all for attempting to aim low. And hopefully get very pleasantly suprised.

Quoth the Gin BLossoms:
"If you don't expect too much from me, You might not be let down"

Esther Kustanowitz said...

AL: those carriages come horseless? Interesting.

Anon/VJ: I haven't been fed or watered in too long, so forgive my proclivity toward pessimism. The issue of SMs (soulmates, Simcha, soulmates) is another story...what is this impressment you speak of? I'd be interested in learning more about that method...

P-Life: I actually was reluctant to congratulate you on the Tzip thing, and you forced me into it with all of your optimism. So there.

FDChick: Good one on the "giving them a break" front. Clever.

Scott: I hear you, believe me. I keep dabbling in optimism, even though it keeps biting me in the butt. Enter the pessimism. I guess it's all part of a cycle. I once described myself in an online dating profile as a cynical romantic, and all I got were belligerent insistences that such a thing was an oxymoron. So be it.

Simcha: Who are you calling fahkokta? That column about Fresca got more responses than any other one I've done in the last several months, so clearly, it had a certain effervescent appeal. (Chortle, chortle.)

Lyss: Isn't that from a song called "Hey Jealousy"? Just checking...

Did I get everyone?

Anonymous said...

Ah but Esther, You are fed and watered regularly by your decent crowd of peeps. The trick is finding that special someone. Impressment is a kind of archaic (Brit.) term for plain ole kidnapping. Holding the bride ransom in the old country. So why not the prospective groom? Used first(?) or commonly on the high seas to keep the British Navy afloat during the late 18th-early 19th century. Men of Iron, boats of wood... that bit.

And yeah, from where I sit, $90 is a bit much for my taste for such an event (described in the next post). Even in NYC. And I can afford it, but do not need it. Cheers & Good Luck, 'VJ'

Jennifer said...

Hmmmm. How about a "romantic cynic?"

But seriously, I am a believer in the power of OPPOSITE thinking. Because whenever I believe with all my little heart in good things happening, they don't. And then when I believe with all my little heart that something will go to crap, odds are it doesn't and actually goes well.

So really, negative thinking IS positive thinking!