“Are you a glass half empty or a glass half full type of person?”
Why is this the metric we go by to determine whether a person is an optimist or a pessimist? There are so many ways of describing a glass containing half of something and half of something else that trying to boil the question down to two possibilities doesn’t seem helpful.
If I were to say, “Oh, that glass is only half full,” that would not be the same thing as being a glass-half-full person. In the same way, saying “Oh, only half of it’s gone,” is not the same as being a glass half empty person. The way we describe something often plays on more than just objective realities; it is not only what we say that matters, but how we say it.
I like to think of myself not as a pessimist or an optimist, but as a realist. Practically, this means I’d probably be pushed into the “glass half empty” camp, but my responses would be more annoying than that. Are we filling the glass up or emptying it? Filling the glass, I would describe it as half full; emptying the glass, I would describe it as half empty. Are we able to refill it? If yes, then it doesn’t really matter either way, since it could be completely full at any time. What liquid is even in the glass; is it something I want? I don’t want the glass at all if it’s not something I want.
With the common perceptions that optimists are always positive and pessimists are always negative, I feel that defining myself as a realist is more accurate to how I see the world. For the most part, I feel I have a fairly grounded, objective expectation of how the world will function. I have seen enough people do bad things that I know bad things will happen, but I have also seen enough good things to know that the best can also happen. I also know that the completely unexpected can happen at any time, throwing a wrench into anyone’s always positive or always negative perspective.
The thought “hope for the best, plan for the worst” is one that often runs through my head, though I don’t think it entirely encapsulates my understanding of the world. Perhaps more accurately, I hold a short term and long term expectation of what will happen in the world, with the short term view skewing more negatively and the long term skewing more positively. Perhaps this is more of an eschatological hope than anything, but I think it sheds a much more positive view on the possibilities for the future than what I have seen recently from many people.
One of the places I’ve really learned about being a realist is from sports. As a fan of Minnesota’s pro sports teams, you learn very quickly to be very realistic about possibilities while still somehow having an enduring faith that one day, however far in the future that day might be, your team will win. After seeing the Cubs win a World Series for the first time in over 100 years, anything seems possible.
At this point, I could try extending my thoughts on the glass half empty/full debate toward my 1,000 word goal, but I don’t know that expounding any more is going to shed any more light on the subject. This was just something I was thinking about on my drive home from work tonight. There is probably more I could say my my understanding of being a self-described “realist,” but more on that will probably come in the future.
Having just wrapped up a customer service oriented job, I think that customer service workers’ expectations of people are very specific and tend to be much more negative at work than in many other places. Things that seem like they should be immediately apparent or easily understandable to the employee end up being misinterpreted, lost in translation, or in some way just aren’t understood by many customers. More of my thoughts on this will come, but I think they’ll be in video format, once I decide how to make that video (because I have LOTS of thoughts and stories).
Speaking of the job, today was the last day I was at my job, making me a free agent of sorts now. Unlike sports free agents, I’m going to have to pursue an employer instead of having an employer pursue me (as far as I know; if any employers had other plans in mind, just let me know). Until I do get another job, I’m looking forward to sleeping in, lazy days, and not doing much…OK, that’s not true at all. I expect that I’ll still be putting in at least 8 hour days between the job search, a renewed focus on exercise (now that I won’t be on my feet all day), and my creative endeavours. I’ve posted here every day for almost 4 weeks, but I haven’t made any video content for a number of weeks (not since the Oscars), so I’m looking forward to jumping back into that.
As for how I’m doing right now (since it’s on my mind), I’m doing about the same as I’ve been doing for the last couple weeks – I’m tired and my feet hurt. It seems strange to say that I’m hoping I only have plantar fascia issues, but since I’ve dealt with that before, I know how to take care of it. My concern would be if it was something different/more severe, because being hurt (especially on the things you have to use to get around) is not fun. Apologies to anyone who didn’t want to know that information; as I said, it’s on my mind (I also said I would go hiking tomorrow, so we’ll see how that goes).
Thanks to everyone who made it down here after some unexpected topic changes. I’ll be back here tomorrow with something new.