Friday, January 17, 2014

Guarded Optimism

This is a little something I wrote at the end of 2013.  Enjoy,

As 2013 wraps up, I'm sitting here reflecting on it all. After all, self reflection is how we evolve as individuals, right? It's how we sharpen ourselves.

Though there certainly have been some fantastic highlights and wonderful new people who have entered my life in the last year, it was a pretty rough year. It was just about as tumultuous as 2009 was but in completely different ways and for completely different reasons.

Both years, some people I was close to said and did some really horrible, selfish things that really hurt me. Some really terrible, and incredibly skewed things have been said about me, and there's nothing I can do about it. What's done is done, and I don't dwell on it. At least time and perspective have vindicated me.

For me personally, this all serves as a painful reminder that you cannot undo the things you say and do that will hurt people, so it is incredibly important to make sure you always consider other people's feelings before you act. If you have no clue how others feel, or if you only *think* you know, then ASKING is the only way to be sure. Begging for forgiveness later isn't the best way to build up friendships and relationships, and delinquent, half-hearted, or mitigated apologies aren't upbuilding either. Never assume the worst about the good people in your life and never jump to conclusions by assuming you know what's best either.

Well over half my lifetime ago, I realized that the best way to live one's life is to try to strive to have minimal regrets. I realized the happiest people I knew had very few regrets over their long lives. This ideal certainly means different things to each individual. For example, one person may say "I regret never having kids when I was young and still had the chance" while another may say "I regret having kids when I was so young and wasn't ready for parenthood." No one can give you a map of everything you should and shouldn't do, though there are some easily identifiable things that at least 99.99% of the population would all regret just the same. You will never regret using sunscreen.

At the end of 2013, and like so many other years in my life, the only big regrets I recall ever having were when I trusted the wrong people - people who absolutely did not deserve my trust or friendship. I end my year with minimal regrets. Can you say the same?

Though regretting trusting people is certainly not 100% preventable, I strive for balance. I strive to find that healthy balance between being having an open enough heart to not miss out on all the good things and good people in life (while allowing for others' imperfections and room for error and forgiveness) and being guarded enough to keep from being repeatedly hurt. In a world where we dictate how we will be treated by what we put up with, we all have to draw a line somewhere.

Guarded optimism. It's my entire life approach. I try to balance science, logic, instinct, forward-thinking, common sense, historical record, and occasionally leaps of faith. It's a fine balance to tune, and "balance" in general will always be my life-long endeavor in every aspect of my life.

At the end of my last breath on this earth, I want to have minimal regrets and I want to be able to know that I strived to be an all-around good person. Much like the rest of life, it's an ongoing process. All you could ever ask of me is to do my very best, and that's what I give. It's what I've always given. It's all you can ask of anyone.

At the start of the new year, my best wish for all of my friends is that you have as few regrets as possible and you do your very best to be the very best person you can possibly be. With your own autonomy and the glorious gift of free will, you get to decide exactly what that looks like. Do your thing.

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