Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What Color is Your Lens on the World?

When I was much younger, I thought of myself as an idealist. I even had a quote for it:

I'm an idealist. I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way. (Carl Sandburg)

I'm not sure if I decided I was an idealist and then found the quote--or if I liked the quote so much I decided I was an idealist. Knowing myself as a young girl, I'm leaning toward the latter. That or the rose-colored glasses.

Over the years my personality has taken a more, shall we say, pragmatic turn. When people would ask, "Is the glass half full or half empty?" I would say, "Well, that depends. How did the glass start out?" I said it to be something of a smart ass, but I really did mean it. I mean, if the glass is empty and you fill it half way, it's half full; on the other hand, if it's full and you drink half, it's half empty. Right? Doesn't that make sense? (The day I heard Peggy Hill make a similar argument during King of the Hill was a sad, sad day for me. In fact, this is the first time I've publicly made this assertion since I watched that episode.)

These days I consider myself a realist--and have for a very long time. I never really fit into either the "optimist" or the "pessimist" roll. Barring some of the more obvious things, I really believe that most events in life aren't really "good" or "bad"--they just are. It's your reaction to them that makes it a positive or negative experience. I have a quote for this one too (C'mon! You knew I would!):

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails. (William Arthur Ward)

I love that quote. It speaks to me.

How about you? Do you classify yourself as an "-ist" of any sort?


  1. Oh I am an optimist to the bone. At least I thought that I was until I read your definition of a realist! I think that I lie somewhere in the grey area between the two depending on the day of the week. I am for sure not a negative person or pessimist in any way!

  2. I spent many many years as a pessimist, it was cool, ya know. My husband says that I was fighting my true nature, a realist that is pretty optimistic. Yep, now I am all Polly Sunshine. Though the dark brooding comes through every now and then, at least now I know it's kind of fake :)

  3. I can't help but wonder if the military life forces you to be more of a realist? Or if it's just part of getting older? Curious to see what you think...

    I am definitely a realist, with optimist leanings.

  4. Haha! I usually say I'm a glass half empty kind of girl but I really like your how did the glass start out comment...

  5. LOL...I did too until Peggy Hill said it. That was quite the moment for me.



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