“I’m just sick of it!” my teenage daughter exclaimed from across the dinner table. She was having a tough time with something and letting the rest of us in on her misery. Remember when you were young… how you felt the whole world could be against you and you had no power to change it?
In my most fatherly voice, somewhere between Ward Cleaver and Mr. Brady, I said to her, “You could turn your problems into opportunities if you really wanted to. You know, when life hands you lemons…”
“What? Throw them at people you don’t like?”
“Uh. Nooooooo…. you make lemonade. You make the best of a tough situation. Come on…try to look on the bright side.”
Look on the bright side… now I admit that phrase is easier said than done. Have you ever been in the middle of a really rough day when someone else cheerily suggested you simply adjust your attitude and look at your problems from a new perspective? Did it hurt your hand when you slapped them?
What does it really mean to “Look on the bright side?” I suppose this came from early astronomers observing the earth’s rotation, seeing that even when things get really dark, the life-giving sun eventually rolls around and puts you on the bright side of the earth again. It’s the cyclical nature of life – darkness and light, ups and downs, peaks and valleys.
The ability to strive for the mountaintop when you’re in the middle of a valley is NOT simple. Let’s keep it real here… 2009 sucked for a lot of people. But you survived it. You’re still here. In addition to listing the difficulties, why not count your blessings and build on them?
Optimism is a choice… your choice. A new year is a milestone opportunity to look for the bright side, and I’m betting it will come around again.