Looking for answers to life's questions

We are getting a whole new year. At least I hope it’s a whole one. I’m looking for a better one than the last. Not that the last year was awful, just…challenging. Apparently it shows up in my writing.

My stories for our memoirs class had a run of sadness to them. The instructor asked me point blank if I always saw the glass half empty. I just looked at her and shook my head no. Of course my face was frozen up from the stress of reading my story, so speaking elaborately wasn’t an option. As they proceeded on to the next story reader, I thought to myself, “Sure, I see the glass as half full all the time. Someone just shot the damn glass full of holes”. My optimism leaks out and is replaced with pragmatism. I read “Mark and Angel“, “Abraham-Hicks”, “Tut from Mike Dooley”, and everyone else that has something positive to say daily.

This is my computer wallpaper

This is my computer wallpaper

To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure what optimism really is. The online dictionary said this is the definition: “A tendency to expect the best possible outcome or dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation.” That’s what my daughter does. She’s been out of work twice this year and after a month, she can’t pay the rent or anything else. I want to be optimistic, I really do, but this is not looking like a short term problem. She was out of work for two years before finding temp work. That’s all she has had for the last year and a half, temp work. What is the best way for me to be helpful? It’s very tricky. When people I love are struggling, it causes me to feel stressed with them and it affects my outlook.

I’ve been looking for the last year for a home to purchase. There is very little available in my price range. They showed me a lovely place where the bedrooms must all be passed through to get to the bathroom and had no foundation. The realtor got really frustrated with me for turning it down. I couldn’t afford to rebuild it. I’m optimistic that the right place in my budget is out there and my daughter will find a real job that she likes. I’m optimistic that my son will find work in this area that pays what he makes in Los Angeles. Ok, maybe not as optimistic as I’d like to be on that one. I’m optimistic that this will be the year I get well enough to drive where ever I want to go. Health will no longer elude me.

it's too big and expensive but a girl can dream, can't she?

it’s too big and expensive but a girl can dream, can’t she?

I’m optimistic that 2014 will bring us all the good we have all been looking for. Are you an optimist or like me, more pragmatic? Has your glass been shot full of holes as well? What are you expecting from this New Year? Whatever it is, I wish you the very best 2014 has to offer.

Don't know where this came from but it resonates

Don’t know where this came from but it resonates

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

Comments on: "In Search of Optimism" (25)

  1. Dear Marlene, I’ve realized over the past year that optimism and pessimism are both faulty ways of looking at reality. Because both keep us fixated on the future. Either way, it’s just an imaginary future, that we can’t control, that we are obsessing over! Yeah, I might sail around the world. Or I might die in a car accident tomorrow. Both of those outcomes are pretend. The present moment is all we have control over, and it is neither good nor bad, it just is what it is.

    So, with that in mind, I am anticipating no particular outcome for 2014. I know that I am happy right now. I also know that, if my world crumbles at my feet, I will be provided with the internal and external resources I need to deal with it, and that I absolutely won’t be alone.

    That’s enough. 🙂


    • Great way to look at things. I’m happy with the way things are right now. The future has many possibilities, each of which brings challenges to grow through. Being unemployed brings things into immediate perspective and requires those internal and external resources. Which will I be?


  2. My glass was shot full of holes also this year. But I’m an optimist at heart. When I was younger I wasn’t that way, I let things get to me so much I crawled in a hole of depression that lasted almost 2 years. Two years I can never replace. After I crawled my way out of that hole I vowed never to crawl back and I’m proud to say I haven’t. Been damn close a few times, this year being one of them. My health suffered, my husbands health suffered worse, we lost our house and other bad things. But this is a new year starting and unlike your other commenter I do think in many ways we can steer our futures in many ways. It’s not pretend if you don’t want it to be. One of my favorite mottos is; Don’t let the situation control YOU! YOU control the situation.
    Here is hoping your new year is full of light and love Marlene.


    • Thanks Jackie. Both of you are valid points. Course in Miracles says the only meaning anything has is what we give it by our thinking. I just have to watch my thinking. I’m also trying not to be a rescuer anymore. Never helps. In the end we have to rescue ourselves. I learned a few weeks ago that sugar, for me any carbs, sets my brain up for inflammation, causing depression. Do I stop eating what causes the depression? Not till after the holidays. 😦


  3. Hi Marlene ~ Happy New Year ! I tend to be an optimist, but sometimes things get in the way of that rosey view. We really don’t have control over what comes our way, but we can control what we do with the good, bad and the ugly.

    To me, optimism is more about how we respond to situations. Do we choose to grow or just be buried by the weight? Seeds are buried in the dirt, but push their way up to produce fruit, flowers, veggies, whatever.

    Here’s to being seeds! Missy


    • Hi Missy, I lean toward optimism in spite of what has gone on but once in awhile, the pragmatic Virgo steps in. I wait it out and patch the holes in the glass. I see you as always the optimist. I’m pushing through the dirt most of the time. Dust myself off and keep growing. Good analogy with the seeds. I like it. Happy New Year to you and yours. I’ll be back in Spring.


  4. PS…love the pic of books at the top of your blog!


    • This is more who I am. I’ll miss seeing you in class. Didn’t sign up for winter session. Have some other obligations that need to be taken care of.


  5. Marlene, I can relate to how you accept the stress when your loved ones hit hard times. This year had a rough period when my son lost his job and hit the bottom in depression. I was worried for him and had to help him to find some direction to pull him out of the lows that had overtaken him.

    I hope this year will be good for both our families and all the others who are struggling with lost jobs and health concerns..

    Happy New Year, Marlene, and I love the new look of the blog.


    • Thanks Lois. I knew you’d understand. it could get bad enough she will be sleeping on my futon shortly. I sure hope not. She spends all day every day putting in applications. I’ve been helping financially all I can. I can’t anymore. Something has to give. There are hundreds of people applying for the same job. She has Fibromyalgia so working on her feet all day is out of the question. It’s just tough out there and so many are giving up.


      • How I know the financial help and the drain. I am still helping out a bit every month for my son and it has to stop soon.

        I never thought I’d see things this bad. I knew when I was their age I could have any job I wanted.


    • Bye the way, Happy New Year to you and yours. I’m wishing a better new year to your son too.


  6. I would have a difficult time being optimistic too, if I had to worry constantly about my finances, yet it’s precisely that kind of person that attracts good things to their life. Bit of a Catch 22 I guess. Women actually start 30% of all new businesses, creating their own opportunities. That might be an option for your daughter. Does she play an instrument? Perhaps Music lessons in her home? Does she enjoy gardening? What about a weekly yard maintenance company (of all chicks, even better) ? Does she have mad computer skills? If so, Website design is fast on the rise. I know someone who will come to your home and do your nails. That’s a fairly quick certification with a minimal investment. You can only imagine how many other entrepreneur opportunities might lie in wait. Alys might have a good insight on this in America, as it’s exactly what she’s done so spectacularly. I’m certain she could offer some good information, should your daughter be interested.

    In my opinion, I think your writing instructor was being rather callus with that off the cuff remark. It’s more of a reflection of a lack of understanding of your personal situation and history. Where as she should only offer critique of your work, which by the way, shouldn’t be a personal slam. Shame on her.

    I’m looking forward to more fun at WordPress, a home of our very own and hopefully hosting Alys in that home if we can find one before the end of our short Canadian summer. I’m keeping my expectations high, LOL as that’s how I roll. Happy days ahead my dear! Cheers!


    • Thanks for taking the time to read and all your kind words. I’m sure my daughter has something good coming her way as she has a good heart. She unfortunately doesn’t have the entrepreneurial spirit. I have suggested so many things as has her brother. It’s up to her now. She’s not a mover and shaker. More of a slow molasses kind of girl. Frustrating for me. As for the writing instructor, I lost exuberance early on. Just another case of not fitting in. I’m looking into other endeavors now. I love my word press community too. You have kept me writing when I think about giving up. Next week I get back to work on projects. After the putting away of holiday decor. I’ll wait till my son has gone home.


    • Great perspective, Boomdee! I too am an optimist, but I’m pragmatic as well. I guess a bit of both. I agree with what you said about the instructor, too.


      • Thanks you Alys. I think you demonstrate both attributes with gusto. As for that instructor, I can’t imagine what benefit being discouraging brings to her class. I fear she may have been the type to inflict what she *perceives* as authority or informed opinion on Marlene because she wouldn’t be challenged on it. To your credit Marlene, you continued to attend and complete the course. I think that’s really great, way to show her that she underestimated you. Capital R for revenge 😀


      • Thank you, Boomdee.

        Not everyone who teaches should teach. We’ve all been there. M. has had some awful teachers these past two years (after several wonderful teachers in a row all through grade school). I can’t wait to him to get in to high school. So far all of C.s teachers have been excellent.

        Marlene gets three gold stars and it sounds like she is doing something else this term. Hurray for you, Marlene.


  7. Life is what it is. Struggles, hardships, insecurities, and once in awhile thrilling joy. We all have them if we’ve lived long enough. When all you can see is a muddy outlook, it takes effort to remain positive. I commiserate with you and your family, however, I’ve learned living a thankful life combats the negative. . . even if you’re just glad to be able to put your feet on the floor one more day. Hang in there, Marlene. It’s a new year. A clean slate.


    • You are so right. I’m mostly optimistic. But the Virgo in me is pragmatic. Lack of control over situations which we never are always slows me down, I’m looking at the possibility of my daughter needing to stay with me quite a while, I am always in gratitude. I have a roof over my head and plenty to eat. My needs are simple. Life just keeps us on our toes. I fill that glass up daily. Counting on it getting better for all. Thanks for reading.


  8. Mmm….we do throw that word around in a cloud of wishfulness, don’t we? I appreciate the examples you named of the ways you are choosing to look UP this year.


    • Thanks for reading. I agree about the word and wishfulness. I try to take life as it comes and deal with it. That’s the pragmatist. The optimist in my looks for the good in everything but realizes everything in life is a balancing act. It helps to not always look at the negative as all there is.


  9. That is a whole lot of stress, Marlene. I’m sorry about your daughter’s situation. I hope she finds work soon (the economy is improving, finally). I hope, too, you find that special house.

    I had a realtor pressure me to buy something that was abandoned mid remodel by someone (even to my untrained eyes) who didn’t know what they were doing. It was wrong then and it is wrong now. I feel they often pressure you to buy so they can make the sale when what they should do is keep searching till they match your needs and your budget with a house.

    I wish you improved health, a new home and continued blogging.


    • Thanks Alys. Health is improving so thanks for the good wishes. Blogging is on hold till I have something to say. A home will take a wee miracle. Anyone want a house in a flood plain or under the freeway? Not me. My apartment is too nice to put myself there. I’m cozy and grateful. It will happen when it’s supposed to but I am keeping an eye out for possibilities. Sign me the pragmatic optimist.:) Hugs, M


      • Yeah…another pragmatic optimist. That makes me smile.

        Oh yes, I remember the ‘fixer upper’ homes well. I’m glad you are comfy and cozy in your current apartment. No sense rocking the boat till the right place comes along.

        I’m glad your health is improving. That is music to my ears.



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