Admittedly, I have pondered this question on and off for years and, depending on my age, emotional and financial status, at any given time, the answer has varied. Though, I have always strived to reject “labels” I must admit that I have considered myself both a pessimist and optimist and on several occasions considered myself to be some sort of hybrid of the two. The debate over the glass being half full or half empty is something that I could have passionately argued on either side.
When I think back to my early adolescence I can definitely say that I considered myself to be a pessimist. However, I would have fought tooth and nail to my defense of being a “realist, not a pessimist.” Whether it was due to raging hormones or my consistent battle with depression, it was difficult for me to see any silver lining and would view any resemblance of a happy ending as a curse waiting to reveal itself. Having several views surrounding politics and religion that differed from the norm at the time, it was difficult for me to be optimistic.
I do feel that with age and experience I have gained more perspective as to the outcome of the world, and more specifically as to my view of the world. I have learned that one’s take on the world, be it negative or positive, can and does shape one’s daily live. Individuals who make it a point to see a silver lining, or alternately those who have a negative outlook, in many ways manifest that very outcome. I have seen several friends and family either flourish or flounder their talents and lives as a direct result of this outlook.
Today, I would still consider myself a realist, but with much more of an optimistic overturn. I have lived enough to understand that ultimately life is what you make it. Regardless of your effort, drive, ambition or lack there of, the years will continue to roll by, and you can either embrace that or unsuccessfully attempt to fight it. In any case, it is up to us to determine where we are 3 years from now, we can choose to be in a more positive place or far worse off. Though life will definitely brings hardships out of our control, we can control how we are affected by it. Therefore, realistically there is a silver lining in that we grow from these hardships and can apply this growth towards a better tomorrow.