When I was younger, I was an unrivaled optimist. Not only did I look for the silver lining, it was always there, clear and shining. Although, perhaps optimist doesn't cover it – I was unabashedly filled with wonder. A swirl of leaves in a phantom breeze or the splendor of a cream-and-gold sunset could send me into paroxysms of joy. And small acts of kindness, like a smile from a stranger, gave me comfort.
I'm not sure when I lost that sense. Maybe it was in my teens, after my first heartbreaks. Maybe when my parents got sick, and I became their primary caregiver. Or perhaps it was only recently, after graduating from college and pursing a teaching career, only to find there are no jobs. I became a cynic. And slowly I stopped feeling that tingle when I saw a beautiful work of art. Nature's vistas failed to move me, and I looked for ulterior motives in the kindest of acts.
Whenever it was, and however it happened, I miss my wondering, optimistic self.
I used to journal religiously. I would write about my corner of the world and its small miracles and surprises. If I felt I'd been handed the short end of the stick, I poured my heart out onto paper and it made me feel free. I stopped journaling gradually, as hope and optimism faded. Perhaps the two were causal, or maybe just symptomatic. Either way, I want to begin again.
Somewhere along the way, I lost my idealism, my certainty that right-minded people could re-shape the world into a just and beautiful place. Instead, I let the hardships of life dampen my joy, and I fear, sometimes, that I've hurt not only myself, but the people I love with my negativity.
One day at a time, one interaction at a time, my goal is to become a more positive person. The kind of person that, one day, I can look back on and be proud of.