Pessimism, Optimism and Freeing My Truest Self

Joseph Medler daddy-o

Share Mamalode Share Mamalode

I really don't have anything to say about parenthood today. Nothing you haven't heard a thousand times. I'm tired and I'm stressed and I'm worried and I'm happy and I'm content and I'm coming to terms with it. Blah. Blah. Blah. That's really it. That's all there is. Most days are so chock full of the same joys and crap from the day before that it's hard to distinguish last week from last month, hard to tell the difference between today, yesterday and tomorrow. It can feel like a droning existence punctuated by moments, simple tiny seconds of realizing pure bliss only to return to the droning subsistence you come to over time. It sounds really sad and it can be. It can be lonely and sad and boring beyond belief.

I've heard it said that among lottery winners there is a brief, perhaps 6 month period, when one's general position on the pessimist/optimist spectrum ticks a few spaces toward the optimistic, but soon enough settles back in where it was beforehand. This is somewhat dismaying as I've always thought money would solve so many of my problems. There's some empirical evidence that it would solve a great many things and I'm always ready to say yes to money. I'm not particularly good at getting into a position where it might ever be offered to me, but still.

Turns out getting married to my wife and having kids has been even greater than hitting the lottery. It's transformed me from a cynical/pessimist into an avowed, proselytizing cynical/optimist. I keep a toe in the cynic pool almost solely for comedic reasons.

I now see the point in the drudgery. I get the why behind the what and I love it. And it makes the never ending repetition of the day to day that comes from caring constantly not only tolerable, but the centerpiece of a fun, frustrating, challenging, rewarding, funny, sad, meaningful and purpose-filled life. Pessimism is easy it turns out. Not easy to endure, but SO MUCH EASIER to maintain than optimism. Pessimism is cloaked in world-weary, leathery toughness, but it's all an act. It's really just fear dressed up.

Now, if you know an optimist that person is a badass. BAD. ASS.

Optimism is tireless in standing up to fear.

Dealing with the tricks fear has in store is not a thing I'd have thought to do before I had to be a bad ass. Had to be, you ask? Yes. After all, who wants their kids to be taking their cues from a cowardly bully (or a 'pessimist' as I used to call it), after all? Nope. Now that I have them watching I'm rarely prone to succumbing to defeat. I used to see defeat everywhere. I had a sixth sense for impending failure and you know what I'd do? I'd step aside. I'd decline pursuing those things that lived on the other side of fear. It was just as easy, after all, to change goals so I'd have a moving target of want. If it was meant to be, I thought, it would be readily available to me. Since it's not I might as well keep looking.

I talked about getting married with my therapist. I said, “It's weird. It's always seemed like something to avoid. With Karen it's different, I really want to, but there's this residue of my former self that thinks of it as closing doors and cutting off the limitless possibilities.” She suggested that perhaps it was opening doors to commit to this person I so obviously wanted to be with forever. This idea was paradigm-shifting for me. Somehow I'd come to a place where I thought that endless possibility was more valuable than actual action, actual happiness. I think the whole thing, falling in love with my wife, getting married, having kids, it's all made me see the optimist that resided so far inside my being that I couldn't see or hear him. I almost killed that voice, that aspect of me by smothering him with fear.

Now that voice, that little one inside me that said I'm special, I'm good and of value, I'm talented and able to do anything I wish, the voice I constantly silenced with fear, has been set free. More than anything I want to be as public and as vocal as I can be with that voice. It's my hope that it will help my little guys grow up into men who listen to that part of themselves and aren't afraid to be their innermost selves. It takes some time to find it, but once they do I want them to have a model of how to be their truest self.


About the Author

Joseph Medler

Joe Medler lives in New Jersey with his beautiful wife and two strapping sons. He will tell you he is the luckiest man in the world. You can find his writing at .

Share Mamalode Share Mamalode
August 2015 – Optimism
Our partner this month simply makes us smile – Life is Good
Facebook Comments