I was watching CTV news the other evening and there was some kind of survey conducted comparing people’s happiness. The people considered belonged to two different groups. Optimists and pessimists. And the conclusion was something along the line that a pessimist is more likely to be happier in life (in the long run) than an optimist.
I thought for a moment how can a naysayer, a worrywart, someone who is always gloomy, be happier in life than a romantic idealist?
Being a senseless idealist myself I’ve always hoped and wished for things that not only didn’t happen, but could never happen. I remember early on in my life when the entire country was plunged in civil war, and when at times my friends complained that they couldn’t take it any more. I was always full of hope and optimism. I don’t know, maybe I was too young for hope to be extinguished for very long. Or perhaps I knew and accepted the fact that we were at the mercy of the conditions surrounding us and tried to make the most of it. Or maybe because I was incredibly ignorant and I didn’t realize the real meaning of war at the time.
But then again I have always been ignorant when it comes to real life situations. I have always had my head in the clouds. I have always lived for my books and my dreams and for the future. I’ve always looked beyond the moment and always hoped and wished and believed in better days to come. Only to get disappointed and hurt over and over. Until I faced a major crisis in my life and realized only too sadly that time is so desperately brief, and so immeasurably precious.
Looking back I wish that I had behaved and done differently. I wish I had enjoyed more what I was given at the moment rather than dreamed of the future. A future that might not happen, that may never be. My life, like some of yours out there, hasn’t been perfect, and:
“Not everything’s perfect, especially in the beginning. And it’s all right to have a little bit of regret every once in a while. It’s when you feel it all the time and can’t do anything about it… that’s when you get into trouble.” Sarah Dessen
Right now I know I am in trouble. I feel regret all the time and can’t do anything about it. It’s strange how when we have lost that which is precious to us we realize that we should have behaved and done differently. Up until then we keep dreaming and hoping and wishing only to abruptly realize that nothing is here to stay.
But then again when I look back on my life and see that the greatest part of it was love I feel content and happy. I feel so blessed to have loved and be loved. It’s true that I have been hurt and there were problems, but that was just a tiny part of it. The greatest part was being loved. And as Arthur Miller wrote:
“Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.”