I am an optimistic person by nature. I distinctly remember the Aha! Moment when I realized that not everyone goes through life with the same outlook I always have. In my previous life as a bank trust officer, I was even nicknamed Pollyanna. Even during periods of grief, I always felt that my most basic inner-self was happy and joyful. However, for the last year, my optimism has faded and my joy receded. Even though I so wanted to feel my heart sing, the music just wasn’t there. As month followed month, I began to believe that I truly had changed – that I was leaving the Pollyanna end of the spectrum and heading toward the Rosanne Barr end. This perceived change was playing havoc with me. It’s tough when you suddenly have to see yourself as a different type of person. I remember when a friend’s husband died unexpectedly and much too early (a much more serious event than any that’s happened to me). She told me that it was hard to now have to look at herself as a single person, not as part of a couple with the dreams and plans that couples make.
As I wrote in my last entry, I recently, unwittingly, found myself taking extra special care of someone in need – myself! Then, I took some advice from my husband about mentally compartmentalizing those thoughts and emotions that have been weighing me down. I mentally put them into a drawer, tucked in the edges that were trying to sneak out and I shut the drawer! Thursday afternoon, as we were driving to our youngest son’s basketball game and listening to the radio, I suddenly felt the music move within me. I felt the joy pushing itself out, creating a crack that grew bigger and bigger. Holding back tears I said to my husband, “I feel like dancing.” I think he knew that I didn’t mean the kind of dancing where you stand up and move your feet. On Friday the crack became a chasm and my inner joy spewed out. I drove around town on a mission of errands wearing a stupidly silly smile on my face. Welcome back, Optimism! Welcome back, Pollyanna! Welcome back, Me!
P.S. Lest this sounds too syrupy-sweet, this past year has changed me – you know, older and wiser and all that, but it’s good to know that deep down, I am still the optimistic person I always believed myself to be.