Monday, August 1, 2011

The power of positivity and snarky irreverence too

Writing this blog makes me happy. Maybe because it’s a fresh outlet to let my creative juices flow. Or maybe because it’s uplifted me to highlight the positive side of my very normal life with all the ups and downs that we all experience on a daily basis.

No matter, writing the blog is making me happy…or happier. It’s nice to know that hubby looks forward to reading my next post (I like making him chuckle) and I’m enjoying the connection with my children who blog now or have blogged in the past. And it’s rewarding to share my take with you, gentle readers, on fun and adventure.

But let’s be real. I am not a “big ball of sunshine.” Shit happens in my neck of the woods too. Yes, I can be the calm voice of reason at work and it’s been pointed out that I say “All will fall into place” quite a bit. And guess what. It does all fall into place. The things we could freak out about one week will be old news the next when there will surely be a new thing we could freak out about. So why freak out? Yes, this so-called wisdom has found me in my forties.  

All you need is positivity. So say the Spice Girls.
Not embarrassed to say that I enjoyed the music (and wisdom?) of the female Fab Five of the '90s, the Spice Girls: Sporty, Baby, Posh, Ginger, and Scary. Having two young daughters at that time, it was refreshing to see a girl band (yes, prefabricated, but so were the boy bands) with a powerful message to girls telling them “you are strong, you can do anything you want to do.” The Spice Girls in all their glorious girl power, however, overused the word “positivity” in their quest to spice up our lives and assure us that’s all we need.  

What is so great about positivity? There’s no scientific reason to indicate that a positive attitude keeps you healthier or cures illness. It seems to be the American way to want to control our destiny and feel that we can impact outcomes with our positive outlook. Yet there are plenty of downright positive folks who get sick and die from illness every day, so that doesn’t seem so fair to characterize the success to beat the illness or the failure to overcome based on their attitude. What that all comes down to is life. We all live. We all die. We all have a finite time here on earth. Everyone’s decision is unique to them, but I’m a fighter, so I think and hope I’ll choose to be positive and fight back as well as I can, when my time comes. Only time will tell.

But being a positive thinker doesn’t mean you reject all your negative thoughts. We all have them and should acknowledge them. Mindfulness is always a very good character trait—it’s helpful to review what’s not working, and say, yes, I could have reacted better, and then try a different approach next time. And it’s just as important to know and understand what’s going on around us, both good and bad, so we can make a difference wherever we can.

I like what Abraham Lincoln said. “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” It really then does become about our attitude on a daily basis. I like to acknowledge that we can’t control our universe, but we can control our reaction to it all. We can be positive or negative, enthusiastic or dull, active or passive. And some days we’re more prepared to handle the lows than we are on others, and that’s okay, too.

Just a week or so ago, I was ticked at a silly annoyance I encountered in my day. I mentioned it casually to a close friend. She seemed troubled that I was quietly lamenting. Oh, no, she said, we need you to be our positive force!

Ha! Will I let writing this blog on fun and adventure and my silly musings close the door for me to be who I really am, worrying about living up to the expectations of others, I thought? Hell, no! Do people really think everything in my life is fun and adventurous? If they do, I’m not willing to keep up that façade! My response to my good friend: Let me be real, let me bitch when I need to. Then you can take a turn and be my positive force!

Yes, we all need to take a turn. We all need a moment to acknowledge when life sucks, so someone else can be there for us, to kick us in the pants and remind us to move on, to set us straight that life is relatively good. Yes, it’s a puzzle and a challenge, but we won’t solve it until the end, so I enjoy what I can.

Something went wrong around the house the other day, something inconsequential, so much so that I don’t even remember what it was. But I do remember my reaction to it. Life sucks. And then hubby and I looked up at each other and starting laughing. Put that in the blog, we both said. And so I’m sharing with you, that yes, sometimes life does suck. And sometimes life is good, very good, and at best, even excellent. I’ll take it all, good with the bad. That’s life and I choose to live it.

And what do I do (or at least try to do) when I’m feeling bummed or sorry that something isn’t going our way? I think relatively about what I’m dealing with and what others may be dealing with, and then I don’t feel anymore that I want to complain. I begin to feel lucky, even though something crappy may have just happened. And when all that fails, instead of spiraling down, I simply state to myself: Make it work. Tim Gunn from Project Runway is right. No use complaining or whining. Just figure out how to make it work.

Winston Churchill bluntly stated that a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. I seem to get more done and be happier when I can pull myself together to be the optimist. Choosing to express myself through optimism certainly doesn’t mean I can’t be snarky, irreverent, crotchety, and “improper” at times (I’m also not embarrassed to say that our family unabashedly guffaws at bathroom humor). Those are all too delicious and fun to exclude in my personal quest for serenity and a positive attitude. And I certainly will always be the first to enjoy a good laugh and revel in the escapades of those who are misbehaving when I'm trying to be good. And who knows? I just might surprise you and join in.

So, dear readers, don’t hate me because I’m sunny. I’m also the fun girl, the crazy biotch who will blurt out something when you least expect it, until your milk (or beer) squirts out your nose. Yes, I’m going for happy, serene, and mellow in this satisfying stage of my life, so I’m more likely now to disapprovingly shake my head when some intensely aggressive person dangerously and unnecessarily turns in front of me in traffic. My younger self would have flipped the bird and given it right back. I’m noticing the changes and growth in myself. Now I’m more tolerant of perky than I was in my 20s or 30s. I’m less likely to feel the urge to slap perky, so that’s definitely progress and maturity. I’m a work in progress.

So I’ll continue to appreciate the idiosyncrasies of life and make it work for me the best I can, being positive when I can. When I can’t, I’ll let others be there for me as I would be for them.

But at the end of the day, I still choose to be a glass half full kinda girl. It works for me. No worry, no judgment here if you’re a half glass empty. No matter which way you go, put two of us in a room and we’re a full glass. Just don’t be too perky or I still may have the urge to bitch-slap you. Just kidding…but not really.

Until next time, yours in fun and life…Therese


  1. Who told you you can't complain? ;-)

  2. Oh, Anonymous, no one said I can't complain! :D Just started to get some really nice feedback from many sources that I was so positive and uplifting (yes, one friend called me a "big ball of sunshine, you know, the kind they make jokes about on boardwalk t-shirts," you know who you are and I love you!) and it seemed time to set the record straight that I have no aspirations for sainthood.

    Yes, I can be a "life is good" cheerleader of sorts, but I have my days like everyone else (as I'm sure you probably know, Anonymous). Really, though, just some funny thoughts I wanted to share. Mostly took some ribbing from hubby and kids. Put that in the blog, anytime I complained. Ha! So I did!

    Now, I'll just have to be careful I don't get too perky or I'll have to slap myself. Ha!

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