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Senior Survival: Optimism is essential, negativity is a non-starter



All throughout history, anything that’s ever been achieved has been the result of optimism, a belief that anything is possible through faith, effort and the ability to make something better, even when the odds are against it. Success doesn’t happen unless we first believe that indeed we can make it happen.

by Lee Zimmerman

Given what the world is going through, optimism isn’t abundant right now. Given the terrible consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, many find it hard to see any reason for hope on the horizon.

Knowing people that have been affected, afflicted or both gives little reason for assurance that things will look or feel significantly better, at least in the short term.

These days, I sometimes find myself humming a classic tune by that classic band Creedence Clearwater Revival. “I see a bad moon rising. I see some trouble on the way.

Once it was a reflection of the doom and gloom I felt living somewhere I didn’t want to be, before I was fortunate enough to move to Maryville. Now that song seems to represent everything we’re going through here and now.

Ironically, there are plenty of songs that find a fit in the situation we currently find ourselves in — “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” by the Police, Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here,” John Lennon’s “Isolation,” “Lonely Boy” by the Black Keys", “Back Off Boogaloo” by Ringo Starr, “You’ve Got a Friend” by Carole King. And, dare we mention “Eve of Destruction,” which conveyed some especially sobering sentiments from troubadour Barry McGuire?

Still, in the midst of all the pessimism, I believe there are lessons to be learned that are well worth remembering. The main one is this — we have no choice but to maintain our faith and use it to persevere.

I hear too many people making predictions that there are only dark and dire days ahead. Life as we once knew it will be forever altered and nothing will be as it once was. Dark clouds are descending and today’s troubles and turmoil will only increase exponentially.

The fact is that none of us knows what lies ahead. Politicians can predict an outcome (usually incorrectly), medical experts offer advice (that’s often ignored) and the heroes among us — the doctors, nurses and first responders on the front lines, the folks that make sure we get our food, the mail carriers, trash collectors, delivery people and truck drivers — all carry on with due diligence, even when their own health is at risk.

So what are the rest of us to do? I suggest the following: Keep the faith in the fact that we will get through this. Find solace in knowing that everyone is struggling with the same challenges, turmoil and confusion. Pray for wisdom, but realize as well that each of us also must strive to survive with all the clarity and kindness we can muster.

Above all, opt for determination over desperation.

The fact is, pessimism never pans out in the long run. Giving up and giving in to despair never accomplishes anything.

It’s a non-starter. It puts you in neutral, unable to move you forward and too fearful to allow you to look behind. Succumbing to fear and uncertainty ensures defeat and the inability to accomplish anything. You succumb before you begin because it’s all about giving up.

All throughout history, anything that’s ever been achieved has been the result of optimism, a belief that anything is possible through faith, effort and the ability to make something better, even when the odds are against it. Success doesn’t happen unless we first believe that indeed we can make it happen.

Lee and More on "Optimism and History"

Granted, it’s not easy, especially nowadays. The odds often seem stacked against us. Confusion is rampant and confidence wanes — not reigns even for the most determined among us.

Still, all is not lost. We can still reach out to family and friends. (The Zoom app is amazing, by the way, especially for someone like myself who’s technically challenged.) Humor still breaks the ice. A little bit of kindness and goodwill (I’m thinking of a lady in my community who makes lovely face masks and dispenses them to anyone who wants them) can — and will — resonate long after this crisis is over.

Those essential elements are evident everywhere. You only have to notice where it resides. The Bible advises us that when we seek, we shall find. As difficult as it may seem, it’s still possible to find the good even in a bad situation. When spurred by tragedy, our better instincts become more obvious than ever.

Positivity offers a promise, and that means believing in the possibilities.

Stay safe … and stay strong.

Lee Zimmerman is a freelance music writer, reviewer, critic and blogger.

This article was original published in the Maryville Daily Times https://www.thedailytimes.com/opinion/senior-survival-optimism-is-essential-negativity-is-a-non-starter/article_09df7424-5d5c-56d9-86ed-6baee3d9e540.html

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