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Is Constant Optimism Healthy?

Posted by mcm0704 on April 5, 2019 |

Wildflowers have been blooming all over East Texas, and these little white ones have been popping up since late January. Now unmowed yards are full of them, and I’m glad that some folks haven’t cranked up the old mower yet this Spring.

Author Kristen Lamb writes a terrific blog, offering advice, humor, and inspiration to other authors, and I’d noticed her blogs were becoming less frequent of late. I wondered why, and the answer came in this recent post Optimism Overdose: Why It’s Healthy to Say ‘Life Stinks.” Much of the post was about all of the losses and challenges in her life and how she always tried to face them with cheerful optimism. Then she wrote about the most recent challenge that knocked her down and made her rethink the benefits of always staying optimistic. 

I could relate to so much of what she shared and this excerpt from her post really made me stop and think:

Life can stink because we are holding onto dead things.
Dead relationships, dead dreams, dead projects, dead bright ideas, all rotting inside. All the while, our outer self can appear healthy while, in reality, it’s rotting away, getting steadily thinner, frailer, and on the edge of disintegrating (much like my molars).

Speaking as a person of faith, I think we can be particularly guilty of too much optimism. When life sucker punches us, we look to all the scriptures about hope and love and beauty for ashes (sic) which is perfectly fine…though not necessarily balanced.

Too much Vitamin Awesome is unhealthy. We need Vitamin Awesome in the right dosages. Also, we need MORE than just Vitamin Awesome.

We need Vitamin B as in Vitamin (This is) B*%!!$&%*, Vitamin C – Can You Believe They Did That? Maybe some Vitamin D – Don’t Tell Me It’s for the Best, and Vitamin K – Keep Crying it Out.

Optimism isn’t always the best answer when we’re hurting. We might be holding onto so many dead things, we aren’t being optimistic in the right ways. We have to let go, cry, grieve and sort through those emotions. Separate what can be restored and resurrected from those dreams, goals, relationships that are long dead and in need of a proper burial.

Since my move from the country to the city, I’ve not given myself permission to grieve over that loss. I never wanted my kids to think I am unhappy here. They are so good to me and worked so hard to find me this nice little house. And I should be happy, right? 

I’m trying.

I like to hang on to things, people, and places. And unfortunately, I tend to look backward as much as I look forward. Or maybe even more at times, which is not an emotionally healthy thing to do. However, it is equally unhealthy to not look back and grieve over what is lost. So I give myself permission to cry as often as I need to when I’m missing Grandma’s Ranch and my critters there. 

Okay, enough of that downer for today. The folks over at Litter Robot write a blog with interesting facts about cats, and since I’m a cat lover, I always enjoy reading what they have to say. The most recent post was about why cats sit on paper. There are several reasons explained on the blog, starting with this one:

Paper—usually made from trees—must have some insulating properties, right? Leave it to cats to discover that paper = heat, even when it’s not on fire.

This calls to mind an even more important question: Why are cats obsessed with warm spots? There are a couple of reasons:

Cats are desert creatures, so they’re biologically drawn to heat.

Cats’ internal body temperature is a toasty 102 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning they have to compensate for greater heat loss than us humans.

So, a piece of paper may well mean the difference between the unacceptably cold floorboards and a comfortable lounging area for your cat. Go figure!

I knew that the normal temperature for a cat is 102, but I didn’t know that they are desert animals. Did you? 

Do you have cats? If so, you can share a picture in a comment if you’d like. I’ll start the pictures with one of Hermione taken a couple of years ago in the sun-room at Grandma’s Ranch. She was staying warm in the sun.

That’s all for me for today, folks. I hope you have a great weekend. Be safe. Be happy. Or cry if you have to. 🙂 

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2 Comments

  • Kristen says:

    I would have preferred to hear more. You aren’t a downer at all! I grieve losing our family ranch (not listed in all the losses). I HATE the city and used to have a place to escape.

    We also used to live in rural suburbia, but with everyone moving here from California, they are PAVING OVER EVERYTHING. I used to have rolling fields out my back window and now? McMansions.

    I’m FROM Texas (so remember when it was all farmland and fields)and I want to cry every time I go to the store.

    Another field plowed down for ANOTHER McMansion or pilates studio or vegan grill. God forbid we leave any trees standing.

    I get depressed leaving my house, but when I get out in the country, that depresses too because it makes me think of my home they paved over and a family ranch my moron family never had to sell and only did out of pure greed.

    I can’t imagine having to give all you gave up and not curling in a ball and crying for a month. ((HUGS)). I am probably not as cute as the lamb you had to give up but…. *cute face*

    I am SO SORRY for you and I know you’re being grateful and making the best but sometimes it is just a $#!% sandwich and no amount of dressing it up makes it taste good.

    Lots and lots of love!

    Kristen Lamb

    • mcm0704 says:

      Thanks so much for the affirmation Kristen, and the @(@*@& sandwich. 🙂 I’ve written about my many losses periodically on my blog, but I always seem to just stop at a certain point. I think I need to get over that if I’m going to write a memoir. No holding back there. I’m glad you are back to blogging and look forward to your next post.

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