If anyone accuses me of being pessimistic, I generally put them right by returning that I’m actually being a Realist, not a Pessimist – there’s a big difference.
A Pessimist believes everything is doom and gloom but a Realist knows there’s only a certain amount of doom and gloom – the rest is basic uncertainty of doom and gloom with a sprinkling of hopefulness that it might not be.
Of course I’d much rather live in Hope Springs than in Hope Falls, don’t get me wrong. But I know that the higher my expectations, the heavier the disappointment when (I mean if...) if all goes horribly Pete Tong.
So I’ve learnt to expect nothing.
If something is planned I don't expect it will go according to plan, therefore I am not angry when plans are upset - I have the 'meh' capability and Plan B's are my forte. An Optimist would see the delayed train he's getting for an important meeting as a bit of a setback. The Pessimist would see it as the end of the world. The Realist is somewhere in between. We take out our books that we brought along for just this occurence and wait.
Contrariwise or rather equally, though, if something unexpectedly great happens then it’s simply Effing Brilliant.
Take hubby as one E.B example.
I’d been a single mother for 8 years, the wrong side of 39 and no social life to speak of. The only dates I had were electronically engineered with disastrous consequences – although hindsight has them stored away in a box labelled ‘Material’ – and my next great accomplishment, if the writing thing didn’t succeed, was going to be Grandmotherhood. Seriously. No, seriously! And I’d be great at it. I still will, of course.
But then WHOOSH and WHIRL and there he was, this man of my (literal – see Random Facts post) dreams, telling me I was his dream girl (girl! And there was me planning my Grandmotherhoodness an’ all) and he wanted to spend his life with me. Me! No wonder I laughed like a drain when he asked me to be his wife. I sent him off immediately to get his crucial parts tested (eyes, ears, brain etc) but still he came back with 20:20 in every department. Gulp and Blimey O’Reilly all round.
And I couldn’t have even begun to hope that there was this happiness around the corner of my world. Not even for a minute. And I do sometimes wonder what would have happened if I HAD believed this might happen… would I have expected it and listened and waited for it, and like the watched pot that never boils, jinxed it from happening at all... or would it have happened sooner because I’d have been on full-alert for it?
I’ll never know. Realistically I never dreamt I was on course for a Happy Ever After, I thought that train had long since left the station – so realistically I KNOW that I will always write stuff I want to write about stuff I want to write about and I don’t expect it will be Good Enough for publication but I’ll still send out the queries when I’ve written the next one because you do Just Never Know.
Maybe that’s why the rejections are like bees with no stings. I expect them to annoy me but they don’t hurt.
I hope that Hubby doesn’t realise that Idealistically he should have married someone younger, prettier and dumber than me because Realistically there is not a snowball’s chance in hell of me ever putting housework above writing, shopping before writing (any kind of shopping – I HATE shopping), and whipping up something nutritious and delicious before having a quick blog. That’s me – A Realist to the end and not a pessimistic bone in my body. Honest.