It’s all about attitude

For my last Writing 101 assignment I’m supposed to write about my most prized possession: the thing I treasure. It’s taken me three days to figure out exactly what that is. My first impulse was to write about my camera. I can’t imagine life without a camera. Whether it’s my expensive Nikon DSLR or my iPhone, a camera allows me to express myself and explore my creativity. It’s been my constant companion ever since receiving my very first one for my thirteenth birthday.

My second option was my wedding ring. I haven’t had it as long (only three and a half years) but it feels like I’ve worn it forever. It’s as comfortable as my marriage. But it means so much more than that. I could write about my marriage, and my husband, for a long time.

But today I’m choosing to write about something a little more abstract: my attitude; more specifically, my positive attitude. While not exactly a possession, it’s something I carry with me almost everywhere I go.

My husband often comments that I always have a smile on my face. I tell him that it’s because he’s near me, but that’s not quite right. I think I probably do always have a smile for everyone around me. It comes out naturally even when I’m not at my best. Sometimes it doesn’t accurately reflect how I’m feeling. It could be I feel like crying instead, but I don’t want the world to know that. I tend to hide those emotions. It’s easier to smile and carry on like everything is OK.

Because most of the time, I really do think that everything will be OK. Think positive, I always say. Sometimes despite all indicators pointing otherwise, I persist with this notion. I like to see the good in everybody, and I’ve been burned more than once because of this. I worry about what-if’s yet at the back of my mind I like to believe that there’s no need to worry because everything will work out all right in the end.

I’m constantly surrounded by the drama in people’s lives and quite often they try to stage their melodramas in my arena. There’s no room for positive attitudes on a drama-filled stage. It’s hard not to get drawn in when people you love are tugging on your heart-strings. At times like these I need to keep my imaginary scissors handy so I can pull away. Over the last few years I’ve needed to use these scissors a lot, many times on my own daughter. Her life was a never-ending roller coaster of drama and I refused to get on board. At the same time I believed she would find a way to get off that ride and leave it behind. And she has, in glorious fashion. I am so proud of her. I hope that some of my positive attitude has rubbed off on her and she can carry it with her as she prepares for the great life she has ahead of her.

My attitude has seen me through many rough spots and allowed me to persevere and eventually succeed. When I first started working with my current company, I thought I was in way over my head. There was a lot of technical jargon I had to learn quickly. My boss was notorious for being difficult. It was my positive attitude (and not the “How to deal with difficult people” seminar offers I kept getting in my inbox) that kept me sane and allowed me to see the humor every day when I came to work.  I also felt fortunate to have a full-time job with benefits. This job was the only stable force in my life through years of turmoil at home as my husband went through several company mergers and down-sizings multiple times. Almost twenty years later I am still with the same company and am proud to call my first boss a friend.

On the other hand, thinking that things would be all right in the end kept me in a marriage that should have ended much sooner than it did. In fact, only seeing the positive and not the reality blinded me such that I got married too young and to the wrong person. But now my positive attitude leads me to believe that those unhappy years made me the person I am today and brought me to this point.

Which brings me to today’s attitude. The other night as we were sitting on the porch listening to the fireworks in the distance, we got to talking about our kids, specifically his kids. They are grown now, leading their own lives, each one about four hours away from us (in different directions). Visits from them are rare and brief. They’re all twenty-something; busy with jobs and their own relationships. When they’re in town, the time they have to spend with their father is very limited, if there is any at all. His view is that they have no time for him and plenty of time for everyone else. My positive view has me believing that it’s not by design but due to time and travel constraints. They find it easier to put him at the bottom of the list because he won’t make a big deal about it. It’s not an easy sell when it happens so often, though. I’m hoping that this is not one of those times when my positive outlook is fooling me, not letting me see the truth. I think that maybe by letting his hurt feelings be known to his children, by making a big deal about it and having some uncomfortable conversations with them, things will work out all right in the end. I hope so. My heart and my positive attitude tell me so.

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