My life isn’t perfect, but it isn’t extremely hard. I, like any other person, have experienced the emotional swings and challenges in life. As I have matured and grown up, the most important byproduct of this process is the optimism that now permeates every bit of my being.
The side of my grandfather hidden away from his grandchildren was the strong side from his past – as a youth, he was one of the first to move from Communist China to Taiwan with the Nationalists. He arrived in Taiwan with nothing but his health and wife, but opened a very successful pawn shop in the city of Chia-i. This was the hard-working, strong, young man of the early 1900’s.
No, the Grandpa that my cousins and I knew was the old, loving side. His arthritis and old age prevented him from walking around very much, but whenever we visited, his mood would brighten, and he’d offer to take us out on the moped or buy us bubble milk tea. One time, my cousins and I pestered him for a bit of spare change to go and buy toys. He relented, and we rushed down the street to the toy shop with plastic swords. When we returned, he saw that I’d chosen the best sword as my own, even though I was the youngest of the bunch and was supposed to let my elders choose what they wanted. As his face crinkled into a smile and his sides began to shake, he playfully shook me, saying “You little mischief-maker.”
Memories like this made his death a few years later almost unbearable. Though still young, I felt like I knew Grandpa a bit better by now. Because of this, his death felt like he was being stolen from me before we could properly bond. It was because of this feeling that I started looking for something good, something to hold on to, that could come out of his passing. It occurred to me one day that I had not appreciated him nearly enough. I did not know how great a blessing my grandfather was to my family and me. His death taught me to appreciate the things I had in life, but it also taught me to look on the brighter side of things.
Being optimistic, to me, is not just for a sorrowful time in life; I believe that optimism can be found at any time in life. Though we may need it more while going through a hard time, why not use it in every phase of life, good and bad? When feeling good, why not find something in the future to feel even better about, or feel good for others? When feeling bad, why not use it to get out of the pain and depression?
Happiness and sadness are personal creations. Adding to happiness and overcoming sadness require the same thing, optimism. This is what I have found – and this is what I believe.
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