Optimism in Woodend
by Victor Perton
In April 2021, I was guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Woodend. It was a super night with everyone answering the question "What makes you Optimistic?"
The following (drizzly) morning I walked the streets and knocked on some doors asking people "What makes you Optimistic?"
As I was asking people without notice, I asked for first names.
What makes me optimistic? What makes a difference for me is being given the opportunity to make a difference and add value to the community I live in, do my job, and live in general.
Anthony Woodcock (Woody) - Football Coach and Bookshop Proprietor
Victor: So Woody, what makes you optimistic?
"Oh, kids, hanging out with kids and coaching with kids and yeah, the way that kids approach life is really, yeah, still fascinating."
As we were speaking, a group of teenagers walked by and had a super positive conversation with Woody.
"That things will work out in the end, because it could do with some working out, actually, eventually."
Brendan (working on building site)
"What makes me optimistic? Blue sky and sunshine. I have a good life, and busy work and everything is going well. That's all you want."
"Sunny days and that the world is basically a good place. Basically. I mean, there's the 1% that create some problems, and there are a few idiotic politicians around.
My mantra is the world is basically a good place, and to make it better, true things, manners, courtesy, respect, and three good deeds a day, which might be holding a door for someone, doing an interview in the street, letting someone in the traffic, smiling at someone and yeah, the world is a good place.
"Just as things work out as they do, things find a way to work out in their own way and whatever is to be is to be. As the song goes, 'que sera sera"
Mary and Richard
"Just the perfect life that I think that we're leading. And my beautiful dog. She's a harrier, a rescue dog."
We live in a great country, and there are many opportunities here. Yeah, I think that's my main reason to be optimistic having this, that you can do what you like in this country if you've got the will to do it.
I think he's optimistic because he's been married to me for 51 years.
Mandy (Grabbing a Coffee)
What makes me optimistic?
It has been hard in the last 18 months to be optimistic with the way the world is. However, humanity has been around for thousands, millions of years. We will be around for a while longer, and this COVID-19 is not going to get us. So sure, there are challenges, but I think you also have to think about the goodness of people, that people are primarily good and honest and...yeah.
I've got a granddaughter. Oh yes, well, she's three, Evie's three. She is an absolute delight... when you look at life through the eyes of that three-year-old, you realize how jaded and cynical we become. And yeah, I'm jaded and cynical; I'm nearly 60.
So, life does kick you around a bit, but there's a lot of good in life. A cup of coffee. Freedom. We live in a beautiful country and an island, so we probably should never have had COVID-19 in the first place.
But yeah, there's a lot of good, but I think what COVID-19 has taught us is that we need to look at the simple things of life. Bring it back to the family. Bring it back to having a moment with a cup of coffee and having a walk in a park. Just look at the simple things. Not, I don't have this, and I don't have that, and I don't have the latest of everything. So yeah, I an optimist.
Robyn and Joy (Walking together)
Victor: "What makes you optimistic?"
"Security.... Knowing that I'm financially OK, knowing that my health's OK, my family is OK, that kind of thing."
"Optimistic about the future, and the future can entail many things, as we know, so it's really optimistic about the future of this country and who controls it. I'm optimistic that they'll do it correctly."
The inherent goodness of people, that people try to do the right thing at the end of the day.
"A better future"
What makes me optimistic? Fairness and freedom.
My grandchildren: Great little people.
"Faith in science"
Anthony and Matty (on building worksite)
"It is being on this course. Life experiences. Life experiences."
"Not too sure, really. I'm trying to think. I really live day by day. Yeah, day by day as it comes, really."
Ann-Marie serving at Il Caffe
"What makes me optimistic? Just my outlook on life and my family, really."
Victor: "You're running this wonderful cafe, is the community here very optimistic?"
"I believe so; yeah, well, our customers are definitely. Always happy."
Victor: "After a spark of good coffee, I assume?"
"Yeah, they'll get it here."
Victor: "May I ask you what makes you optimistic?"
"Good planning.... Helps for a good outcome."
Victor: "And living in Woodend, is it an optimistic community?"
"I think so, yeah. It's a lovely community."
"Having a positive mindset, and yeah, being positive in what you do, and looking into the future and believing it's going to happen."
Victor: "And is Woodend an optimistic community?"
"Probably so, yeah. No, it's a great community, so yeah."
Rob (lives in Romsey)
Victor: "Rob, may I ask you what makes you optimistic?"
"Having a loving puppy who depends on me for everything..... He's a designer mongrel. Actually, he's a caboodle crossed with a west highland terrier.
Victor: "Are Romsey and Woodend optimistic communities?"
"I wear two hats because every Tuesday I deliver frozen meals to lots of very needy people, whether it's old age or mental issues or family violence and whatever, so those days I'm not that optimistic, but you feel like you're doing something. Yeah.
"We live in God's own country. Not that I believe in God, but if there were a God, this would be really good."
Victor: May I ask you what makes you optimistic?
"I think if you keep at it, you just keep going and going; you will get there. I know that there is maybe light at the end of the tunnel.
Victor: And is Woodend an optimistic community?
"Yeah. Yeah, I think it is. It's a nice community."
Victor: "What makes you optimistic?"
Victor: And why is that so?
"Because I am depressed."
(The conversation continued)
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