Bethlehem Press

Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Maintaining optimism Maintaining optimism

Maintaining optimism

Monday, February 3, 2020 by The Press in Opinion

The crossing guard Mary once greeted me saying “I knew it was you, you always have a lilt to your walk.” It was the sweetest description I’ve ever heard about my gait. I was born with turned in feet, a near club foot, and a spinal curvature. The pediatrician told my mother I would walk, but likely never run. (Seventeen years later I made Districts in Cross Country). Stubbornness and determination walk hand in hand. So do perspective and attitude.

Sometimes in my current situation it is hard to maintain my natural optimism. My older son commented that at a certain point in this journey, I lost it entirely.

I prefer to think my optimism was suppressed. Like feelings in general, it is returning. But it’s delicate.

Still, optimism is more perspective than anything else. James was disappointed when he lost his two wrestling bouts in his tournament, that was also the last event of the season. But his coaches were proud of him for collecting eight points, and I emphasized that with James. He doesn’t understand the sport entirely, nor does he understand how thrilled I am that he successfully finished a full season in his first team sport. With his attention and behavior issues, that is a huge accomplishment.

When I was in my young teens, I went on a trail ride with the girl scouts. The horse I was given was wild, and he rocketed through the parking lot, with me clinging to his back in terror. For years I thought of the experience as a total failure. Then I realized that though I could not control the horse, I did not fall off, either.

Persistence and determination often have a grim undertone. Probably because it is hard work to push through adversity. So I am reminding myself that things are improving, and while I am anxious to get through the process, it’s equally important to go through it with a positive outlook. It’s a work in progress. I try to look at even the bad days, and find the good in them.