The secret of life: Optimism

Bobby - clarendon hills, Illinois
Entered on April 21, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: hope

I believe in the power of optimism. Even though something may seem horrible, unbearable or hopeless there is always good hidden underneath.

For me, this seemingly hopeless time was when I became diagnosed with Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma during senior year. Instead of feeling sorry for myself or getting all depressed I tried my hardest to keep looking forward, but this was much easier said than done. My dad had always told me “no matter how bad things are, there will always be somebody worse off than you”. In the next few weeks this became very apparent. I was sitting in hospital rooms surrounded by infants, middle school kids and everybody in between. All of them had cancer. At first these sights scared the hell out of me.

Then I looked closer and I slowly began to see smiles emerging like the sun from behind storm clouds. These kids were still kids. They continued to laugh, learn and be a part of the world. They did not feel like things were coming to an end, but instead were making the best of every minute. The amount of optimism shown by those kids amazed me. I don’t even think that they knew they were being optimistic, but it did not matter. Seeing them made me want to live my life the same way.

To my surprise doing this was not as hard as I had expected. I started seeing family and friends all of the time, and really feel as if I grew closer to people through my illness. Seeing all of these people made me realize how much people care about me, and it was almost as if I got to see my funeral without having to die. That may seem like a morbid thought, but it is not meant to be. It made me feel loved and like I mattered.

This year on Christmas my extended family had dinner at my aunt’s house. I was pretty sick at the time, but still managed to show up. Everybody there kept on telling me that I was going to be alright, and I tried my hardest to believe them. Just being around an atmosphere of optimism like that was enough to help me feel a little better. Granted it did not make my side effects go away or anything, but it definitely helped me get by. Without optimism those four months of my life may have been my last. I believe in Optimism.