And the winner is…unwavering optimism.
If you were expecting anything else, you don’t know me too well.
I’m not, on a daily basis, the most optimistic person I know. There are people who are consistently more optimistic than I’ll ever be. But I’ll always bounce back from disappointment, believing that there’s something worthwhile just beyond the horizon.
And that, more than anything else, is what makes my life worth living.
Awhile back, I briefly mentioned a girl who I was very interested in. Yes, it’s a past-tense sort of thing at this point. We dated for a brief period in December, but it didn’t go very far and we decided to keep things friendly rather than pursuing anything more. Sure, there was some disappointment that it didn’t go further, but it’s offset by my belief that we can be very good and close friends.
Now, you might surmise that my unwavering optimism kicks in here, leading me to think that maybe something will change in the future and lead us to a relationship. If so, you’d be wrong. A friendship has to be built upon trust, and to trust someone you have to believe that they aren’t hiding anything important from you. I can’t have her wondering if I’m harbouring some faint hope that she’ll fall in love with me some day. If that were the case, our friendship would be fake and I would be to blame.
A long time ago, I wrote a poem about friendship. It’s not very good, but it’s meaningful to me, almost ten years later.
I’ve had friendships turn into relationships, but I would never ever approach friendship while looking for more. That’s a disastrous line of thought.
So no, my optimism lays not in clinging to opportunities that have past and gone, but in opportunities that are yet to present themselves. As I continue to meet and connect with people, I’ll gain a lot of new friends. And eventually, I’ll come across a woman whom I want to build a solid relationship with and who, more importantly, feels the same way toward me.
Maybe that’s not true. There are a lot of people in this world who never find that person, and absolutely no reason for me to be any luckier than another individual. But even if it doesn’t come true, unwavering optimism means that I’ll always believe it will.
Short-term disappointment will rear its ugly head. Again. And again. And again. In terms of my love life, my friendships, my professional life, and everything else. Metaphorical battles will be lost.
Unwavering optimism will win the war.