Optimism is having faith in youth — a blogoff

I spent about ten solid minutes this afternoon just staring outside my office window yesterday afternoon. The wind had kicked up fiercely, the sky had gone gray and the yellow leaves were blowing off the roof, falling all around like snow. I had no particular thoughts other than how beautiful this little scene was, that a scant few weeks ago these leaves were green and alive and that they would fall to the ground, decay and turn into rich soil for the next crop of leaves in the spring. It was at once a very sad mourning and a moment of hope and optimism for a new season.

I have no doubt there will be another spring, but I have no reason to believe that other than there was one earlier this year and the year before that and the year before that. I suppose there will be one autumn where I will be wrong, but I hope that is a long time off, despite the best efforts humans have undertaken to destroy each other over the past decade. And the decade prior to that. And so on.


17 Replies to “Optimism is having faith in youth — a blogoff”

  1. I think where optimism fails is when people choose to embrace the autumn without acknowledging the upcoming spring.

    Brilliant observation. Sometimes it’s easier to get melancholy as we get older. I know that’s my inclination. Thanks for barking me back to my senses!

  2. You home in on a really great point. Human beings (at least this one) are hard wired to see everything as an either/ or. It’s either autumn or spring, good or bad, black or white. It takes training and practice to see both. And even more practice and training to not just see both, but to see them as benign. Thanks for the think.

  3. Reading your post was like cheap therapy for me. It summarizes quite well my personal struggles. I have spent too much time holding on to or mourning autumn, while forgetting that spring is around the corner.

    Lately I have realized that the time spent being angry or in mourning is wasted energy. I was on the edge for awhile and began to think of a way to survive. It occurred to me that optimism is like the economy – very cyclical. If I hold on & remain strong, then spring will arrive and my life will return to normal.

    Thanks for helping me! πŸ™‚

  4. Nice post. It reinforces the idea that the strongest human drive is survival. Weathering this downturn has surprised me over & over, when I thought I was done, that reservoir somehow refills when I’m not looking and hope returns!

  5. Whoa, let’s not get hasty with that cheap thing… the invoice is already in the mail πŸ™‚

    Yes, if you hang with something for a long enough time, it all cycles back around. You don’t even need to wait for the change of the seasons in many cases as we make our own calendar much of the time. A cycle of renewal is normal. From a distance….

  6. I used to sell biomedical equipment and I learned the most useful thing about human beings and life from the most asocial engineer at the place. Life exists on a sine wave; there is no on or off, just a degree of on. Everything has a ramp up and ramp down period. That is why zero sum, right/left, win/lose, black/white, male/female doesn’t work as a strategy. Everything lives in the middle. (sounds very Marxist, there.. yikes!)

  7. The phrase “Old is new again” popped into my head as I read through your examples. As a college student, I’ve still got a lot to learn, and that fact humbles me to the core sometimes. It would be so easy for me to just get overwhelmed and say “What’s the use? I’ll never catch up to these guys?” But, really, what would be the use in that? And so, I press on, discovering for the first time what others have known for decades. It may be an uphill journey, but it goes by a lot faster with a smile on my face.

  8. Here’s the real secret: Don’t try to compete with the old folks still running the race. Eventually, they’ll trip and break a hip anyway. Look for those who understand how to work their autumn. They are the ones who have walked to the side of the road to let you pass. Just be sure to take some time, stop and have conversations with them. The really good ones will want to teach you instead of compete with you.

    And welcome to your first #letsblogoff I hope you found that first step exhilarating!

  9. Thank you! I was having a lot of trouble with the transitions, but I published anyway. Deadlines are liberating that way πŸ™‚

  10. Hey Ruf: beautiful post, well said. You know, being sort of a combination old dog and spring chicken myself (my mind anyway… heh), the fall always makes me a little melancholy, sounds like we have a bit of the same affliction. good to balance, see the beauty in the season and hang on for spring. Second memorable point: just b/c you/I know it, doesnt mean it’s not worth saying. Surely half the stuff — or more! — that I learned was already known long before by others. being new to me – it was HUGE. thank you for repeating good ideas. keep it going, cindy @urbanverse

  11. acknowledging all that’s brought us where we are today is important. appreciating all of the people who paved our way is underrated. attaching fear-based meaning to the past is limiting. aligning ourselves with wise old dogs is enlightening. thanks for sharing your wisdom, Rufus.

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