I believe in optimism.
I believe in making the best of a situation. There is no sense in worrying about what will happen because it will not change the future. The future is inevitable. What is the sense in being miserable in a less than desirable situation? The situation will remain the same regardless so it is always better to find the upside even if it may seem out of reach. When things are not going as planned for me, there is a quote by an unknown author that I think about quite often. “If it rains on my parade, I’ll just dance in it”. It’s about doing everything possible to be positive and understanding that things could be worse.
High school for me was full of sports, keeping my grades up, and hanging out with friends. My friends and I all grew up with great families and thought that fighting with our boyfriends was the end of the world. First semester, senior year, my biggest problem was balancing position as captain of the cheerleading squad and dealing with the stress of college applications. It was early October, however, that I was diagnosed with Mononucleosis. At the time, having to stay on track in school and prepare my team for what was ahead of us, I thought Mono was the most horrible thing that could happen. It was right after this that my friend, Jeff, was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer, Ewing’s Sarcoma. We were shocked. Star hockey player, straight A’s, and only a junior in high school.
One day, I was riding in the car with my mom on the way to a doctor’s appointment for another check up. I could barely lift my head up. I was not quiet about my blistering sore throat, extremely high fever, and my never ending fatigue. However mid-complaint, I stopped. How could I be complaining about how horrible I felt when someone, so close to me, was going through and feeling so much worse? I couldn’t help but feel selfish. Yes I was feeling miserable, but Jeff had cancer. He was going through Chemotherapy and radiation, being pumped with foreign chemicals, while I was complaining about my swollen glands and lack of energy. Yes, everyone’s situations are different and complaining is fine to a degree, but I couldn’t stop comparing our illnesses. I couldn’t stop thinking about how much worse my situation could be. I knew that my illness would eventually subside, and I would continue my life hurdling over any other obstacles that got in my way. Jeff, however, was not as fortunate as me. His illness took his life as well as his dreams for the future.
Although Jeff was younger, I looked up to him. He never complained and always had a smile on his face. He made me stronger as a person and taught me that even in the worst situations; optimism lifts spirits and brings hope. I believe in optimism, not because I am ignorant to the everyday hardships and losses people face, but because of Jeff’s determination to live his life without resentment or negativity. He taught me that worrying about the future or dwelling in the past does not change what has or will happen. Now, when I start to slip into a negative state of mind, I think of Jeff and know that everything will be alright. Jeff will never get to dance in the rain or be the star defenseman at the next hockey game again but he will continue smiling down on the world and remind me that no one can rain on my parade.
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