I want to tell you this story about the two brothers—small boys—one of them a confirmed pessimist, and the other a thoroughly “blooming optimist.”
The father of these boys had tried in every way possible to equalize the natures of the boys, but with no success at all. So, when Christmas time came around he was very careful to purchase for the pessimistic one everything in the line of toys and outfits that he had at any time expressed a wish for. In the stocking of the optimistic youngster, he put only a dried out horse-apple.
Christmas morning came; and the pessimist, who was the first downstairs, looked wearily over the huge display of gifts provided for him; and then settled back with a sour look and this gloomy expression, “Oh, what’s the use. These things will all be broken up in a day or two.”
Shortly afterward, the optimist came bouncing down; took one look into his stocking, and lifting out the horse apple, exclaimed, “Oh, papa, look what I got, somewhere there must be a pony.”
How did I end up being as optimistic as I am is a mystery to me, yet I am? I am the glass-half-full person.
I am the poster child for optimism, and my best friend, who passed away a few years ago, said pretty much the same thing about me. “You would get up after an earthquake, look around and be happy you won’t have to dust anymore,” and as much as I hate to admit it, she is right. There might be some truth to it.
My husband, the man who I love dearly for so many years, is a born pessimistic person. He sees a hair in the soup before it’s even served and I always joke, that if there is a Heaven, one day, after arriving at the religious promised UPSTAIRS, he will go around saying “Seriously, that’s all there is. What’s all the fuzz about?”
What makes us react so differently. Why do I refuse to accept the negative and he rejects everything that seems to be too good to be true -in his eyes.
When I was little, and I was scared or felt very sad, I invented a place in my mind, a safe haven so different from my reality. There live was perfect. During rainy days, I had a place to go to when I needed sunshine so badly.
I never told anybody about it. Being optimistic is one thing, being cuckoo another. An imaginary HAPPY PLACE, doesn’t that qualify as cuckoo?
Last year when the Corona quarantine started and so many of us felt overwhelmed and scared, a blogger Cindy Knoke, who is not just a wonderful photographer, but also a retired psychotherapist, wrote about our coping mechanisms. For the first time, someone recommended an imaginary HAPPY PLACE as healing and I cannot describe the relief I felt.
How did I know as a child what to do? I assume I needed inner peace and the place in my mind made me calm down.
If life gives you Horse Apples, look for the Pony
I should cross-stitch it on a pillowcase or have a wall plaque made. That’s my new mottos. It’s so me!
Looking at my husband last night, searching his plate for the one chicken bone that always ends up on with him-because nothing else would make sense- I wonder if he had a happy place as a child as well. I know his childhood wasn’t easy, maybe that’s why he is so cautious?
He is always prepared for the worst, while I am always prepared for things to get better.
We are perfect for each other. We balance each other out. He laughs about my endless optimism, and I make jokes about his negativity. Opposites due attract.
I will be looking for the pony for the rest of my life and he will complain about all the toys.
Life is good!
Originally written in 2017, edited for my summer blog in 2021