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The Eternal Optimist

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon, a Friday, I’d just got home from school.  My Dad was in the courtyard pottering about with something, probably a bike or his sailing boat.  He was often home on Friday’s, taking the extremely sensible decision to cut his working week in London.  I never before realised what a good idea this was and how trail blazing my Dad was with his working-father short week. 

Excited to see him, I ran over, big cuddle.  He was smiling, the sort of ‘I’ve got a really great surprise for you’ type of smile.  I forget if it was my birthday or not.  Maybe just a random surprise.  He’s like that my Dad.

He was so excited to show me, the air was tingling with it.  He opened the garage door and there sat a beautiful little boat.  The Optimist.  It was perfect.  He’d got one for my cousin too (we were and still are very close being only 4 days apart in age). 

Two little boats.  Mine was red.

The following day we headed out to Bewl Bridge Reservoir to give them their maiden voyages.  I wasn’t a natural sailor, a shame really since my Dad was always racing in his Laser.

Remembering this made me think about what a great word Optimist is.  You see deep down, lives an eternal optimist in me.  Sometimes it gets choked under the heavy load of anxiety, depression, anger and guilt.  The good things always being more vulnerable to the bad, like antibodies fighting disease. 

But there always comes a time when I click back to my 11 year old self, seeing that little boat and knowing that actually life is full of surprises and some of them, occasionally are really good.

I would love to nurture this inner optimist, find a way to make it grow, experience that excitement of seeing it flourish, the way my toddler checks her vegetables and sunflowers every morning. 

So from today I’m starting the search for the sunlight that will help grow my inner optimist,  if I look after it and listen to it and try not to strangle it, maybe it’ll grow so big it’ll squeeze out the evil trilogy: anger, guilt, depression.

This makes perfect sense to me, but then I am slightly sleep deprived today.


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