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Discovering Optimism, Day 34

March 4, 2010

In my brief thirty-one years alive thus far, I can honestly fear controls too much of my overall mindset. At times in my life I have found moments and even arcs of faith that most people mean well, that certain situations would resolve for the good of all involved, that true love lasts, etc. As I grew up though, I learned to value pessimism as more “cool” and certainly as a valid means of protection from potential pain. In certain situations, society and experience can teach us that fear and distrust protect us in ways that faith and optimism or idealism cannot.

While I admit He’s Just Not That into You makes some excellent arguments to help women better recognize and understand some men’s signals, such sources teach us to hunt for subtext and assume the worst when we lack the attention we sometimes crave in a date or a relationship. By reaching my thirties as a single woman, I like most people have suffered sufficient heartbreak to make me wary or start searching for problems in a relationship. It’s safer to catch the signs early before you get too invested, right? Not always.

Lately, I’ve been admittedly too negative in my relationship, and I’m truly grateful to have noticed those signs earlier than later.  I love that my boyfriend works ridiculously hard, thinks of brilliant business ideas and knows how to network, and I admire his entrepreneurship and discipline.   In fact, I remember coming to an early realization that I respected and liked him in ways I’d never previously known in a romantic relationship.

Over time, I’ve begun to crave for more time spent together, falling into an obnoxious old habit of getting complacent in my own life and looking for someone else to do the work of fulfilling and entertaining me.  It took some time to see past my own need for attention to admit that I want to be almost or equally as busy as he is anyway and in that eventuality wouldn’t want so much attention at all.  In fact, in past years where business embodied my lifestyle, I found over-affection and disproportionate time and attention stifling.  To some extent, I began writing here to create some self-motivation to take me away from boredom and into productivity, to live a more meaningful life myself.  As I begin to fill my schedule, I can see that having someone else in my life who busily and happily lives life fully far exceeds my expectations and any other relationship I could have.

Today, rather than trying to worry about who should do what for whom and whether or not he or I are getting enough attention, I’ve decided to stop trying to overcompensate for complacency-induced emptiness and enjoy the fuller life I’ve begun.  I also thought that in such a busy week, where my boyfriend has essentially traversed the entire island of Manhattan working and meeting with co-founders and investors and potential clients, I’d make some effort without fearing that I could somehow create an imbalance. Silliness.  Besides, life feels much lighter and more worthwhile when we assume the best from each other rather than the worst.  Laying my fears aside, I made some dinner and took the train to spend an evening pampering a great but tired guy.  May be this optimism thing isn’t so bad after all.

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