Most people can be classified into one of two categories: Optimist or Pessimist. Erin and I have the “advantage” in our household of having both under one roof. This makes for a lot of fun during turbulent times…even in times of relative calm things can get interesting. For example, I love to think about the future and what great things could be coming our way. She thinks I am jinxing it and we should prepare for and expect the worst. The start-up I joined recently is not going to make it. While disappointing, I look at this as an opportunity to get closer to where I should be. Erin is understandably scared, nervous, and probably thinks I will never find another job, we’ll lose our home and live in a ditch (as a side note, I have several opportunities already…no need to worry folks…no “How I decorate my ditch” posts forthcoming).
Optimists are classified as naïve dreamers by pessimists. Pessimists are classified as negative nellies by optimists. Some people see life as a series of challenges, others as a series of obstacles. My glass is half full while Erin’s is half empty and dangerously close to being dropped on the floor. Ying and Yang.
What I find is true here, and in most every other part of life, is it’s not black and white. While I am an optimist, it doesn’t mean I am unaware of the worst-case scenario. It doesn’t mean I haven’t considered it. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t scare me. It means I function better when I am looking forward to the best-case scenario. I would rather run to something than away. While Erin is a pessimist, it doesn’t mean she thinks we will actually live in a ditch. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t hope for the best. She even at times believes things will work out. It means she functions better planning for the worst and hoping for the best. Both ways are perfectly fine.
In fact, I don’t know anyone who is so optimistic that they have no idea something bad could happen. I also don’t know anyone who is sure that the worst-case scenario is in fact the only scenario. Even the people predicting the demise of the world at the end of the year are looking forward to the after-life.
The world is not black and white…it is very much grey. There are very few areas in which only one approach works. Are there not “experts” on both sides of almost every issue? I have a style that works for me. Erin has one that works for her. We have a therapist that works for us. A lot of the world’s problems could be solved if we all were a little better at understanding this. We need all kinds of people in our lives. If our thoughts, ideas, and actions are not challenged, we don’t grow. While it aggravates me to no end to hear the doomsday scenario from Erin it is also a needed reminder. It ensures that I do stay grounded. And while she thinks I am naïve and a dreamer, she needs a bit if that too. And when we both realize we are right, but just in different ways, we realize why we love and need each other so much.