“Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so. If you assume there is no hope, you guarantee there will be no hope.”–Noam Chomsky
We take little actions all the time. We take steps. We pause. We fall. We start again. Sometimes optimism leads to actions. Sometimes actions lead to optimism. Where is your optimism? What are your acts? Sometimes they are small, sometimes they are superficial. However, sometimes the small and superficial lead to big and deep, real and substantial.
Here are a few of my recent acts of optimism:
Declaring my entry for a second marathon.
Buying a new swimsuit for swimming more laps.
Going on a first and second date.
Being okay that there will not be a third date.
Painting my toenails red.
Asking a friend to edit a short story of mine.
Realizing that focusing on my outward appearance is not vain, but an act of joy after years of ignoring it.
Taking advice that was difficult to swallow, and hard to accept.
Being comfortable with what is.
Changing plans and getting to work.
Packing to move to a different city.
Applying for a new job.
Sending an editor some of my writing for possible publication.
Realizing a friendship changes, ebbs, and flows.
Finding peace in disagreement and discord.
Not caring what others, except the ones I love, think.
Knowing the difference between ego and self-love.
Looking deeply at my finances, instead of ignoring them.
Giving away the last of my coins, when that was all I had.
Taking a pen and turning to a fresh page.
Beginning with yoga.
Saying a prayer.
Not knowing and saying so.
Offering to help and then following through to do so.
Crying in public, and then laughing in public.
Taking a deep breath and moving on.
Signing up for school.
Changing my mind and admitting it.
Being naked (and I don’t necessarily mean without clothes) and in the moment.
Ignoring and eventually losing the doubting voice in my head.
Admitting I was wrong.
Making a genuine, heartfelt apology.
Truly listening to my sister and not saying a word.
Writing down some dreams and goals and listing the many, many steps needed to achieve them.
Diving into the swimming pool after months away.
Keeping a secret.
Signing up to volunteer.
Trying on the black dress from the back of the closet that I have been wanting to wear for quite some time.
Setting up my profile on an online dating site.
Asking a friend to make plans.
Continuing in a new direction, even though there have been some bumps along the way.
Making new friends.
Moving beyond the self.
Telling someone I loved them.
Putting on the black dress, deciding that I look awesome, and wearing it to an event this afternoon.
Realizing that an end is a beginning.