Last night, I spoke the words that Dad always loves to hear—“You were right.” I explained that I was wrong in criticizing his often pessimistic attitude. I decided my new outlook on life will be based upon Ben Franklin’s famous quote that “I’d rather be a pessimist because then I can only be pleasantly surprised.”
I always tried to be a “cup is half-full optimist,” but this perspective causes me to be disappointed, annoyed, or angry too often. So I am going to see if lowering my expectations and the level of liquid in that cup will make me a happier person.
No longer will I be upset by not receiving a thank you card. I now longer expect one, so I will be “pleasantly surprised” if I receive one.
There is toilet paper and paper towels in a bathroom? What a surprise! I am in awe. I won’t get upset by the absence of these products because I no longer expect a restroom to be stocked with TP or PT, clean, or up to my ten-point bathroom standard. (See The Best Places To Pee)
The roads and bridges in my state are in a sorry state of disrepair and my state legislature and governor cannot agree on a sensible plan. I will no longer get angry if I hit a pothole and destroy a tire on the way to pick up some bread and milk. I will take a deep breath and remember that this is to be expected. Times are tough. At least I have a supermarket within a five minute drive. I am now pleased when I navigate my way to the supermarket and return home with my car unscathed.
I play golf and continually fumed when I had to climb over a rope to get to the ladies’ tee while the men’s tee had no barrier. That was a waste of fury. I should have expected it, thought of stepping over it as “exercise,” and should have been pleased when the barrier was finally removed.
Interrupt me? It’s okay because what you say is probably more interesting than what I may want to contribute to a conversaation. I am surprised—truly I am—when someone wants to hear about my book or my genealogy stories or a story which I think is funny and wrote about in my blog.
You are a random stranger, you stumbled upon my book, and you actually liked it? That would be my biggest pleasant surprise, because as a pessimist, I have no expectations.
I could go on, but I think you get my drift. I have lowered the bar, so I am hoping my new attitude will lower my blood pressure and bring me peace and happiness.