Things spring brings…

spring flowers

Tired of being tricked, the spring flowers on this bright and breezy Wisconsin morning seem to be turning toward the sun and asking, “You mean it this time?”

Or maybe that’s me asking.

As is typical in these parts, spring announced itself early with some pleasant warm days, then taunted us with a few chilly snaps before agreeing to stay for good.  

Nature’s spring tantalizing sent me looking for a prior spring-themed post i’d written. I was surprised to find — in the way that the passing of time is nearly always surprising — that it has already been three years since that post (It’s the Thaw That Counts).

I was also startled at the contrast between that spring’s perspective and this one’s. That one had come during a period when i was still dealing with repercussions of a life-altering personal crisis.

As pleasant as today’s gentle breeze is, even more so is this reminder of how far behind me that particular storm is.

As i’ve said in the context of other transitions, for me one of the most important factors of confronting any challenging experience is determining to do so with complete honesty.

I struggled in that earlier post with wishing i were more encouraging, yet wanting to face squarely how things looked.

Today i can just as candidly say the sun has come out.

There have been other difficulties to face since, and there will doubtless be others to come.

But the current moment is (finally) characterized less by traumatic transition and more by acceptance and adapting. A welcome sense of settledness for the time being.

The metamorphosis in the past few years from being a relatively healthy person to becoming one with permanent limitations has also meant confronting self-doubt about functioning in new territory where measures of success and purpose are different and not so obvious.

Readers who have experienced comparable transitions will understand this best…  The most comforting reassurance i can give myself is that i am gradually becoming *ok* with my own story.

Time to enjoy the gifts of spring while they’re here.

As for the future, this quote (by Harold Wilson) captures my attitude well…

“I am an optimist, but an optimist who carries a raincoat.”

Half a cup…

glass-half-full-560

If there is a recipe for contentment, it calls for four ounces…

In this recipe, though, the unspecified ingredient is less important than how the cook views that half a cup. Four ounces in an eight-ounce glass: half full or half empty?

I think most of us see ourselves as leaning naturally toward either optimism or pessimism. Those who tend to be more hopeful know how to look for the good in difficult circumstances. Those who brace themselves for the negative don’t want to be caught off-guard when trouble comes.

It seems very few are exclusively one or the other. The popular idea of new year’s resolutions requires some optimism – though the pessimist might simply anticipate failing sooner.

A well-known quote resolves the opposing tendencies with a third option:  “The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The realist adjusts the sails.” I love this quote — and i didn’t notice until a good friend observed it that one can do all three.   Continue reading