There are times when I get down and depressed, and at other times when my thoughts seem to have hearteningly cleared up, before I realise it is just as temporary and volatile as all other things in nature, and I seem to regress into my pessimistic self again. I always tell myself that true strength lies in being cheerful even while one is pessimistic, and now that I am in a more neutral frame of mind I shall try to expound on that in this uncategorised Sunday entry.
If you think about life on a grand scale, there are many opportunities for pessimism. I mean, sometimes we do not even know what our life amounts to. When we were kids our parents told us the point of life was to get into university. Once we have studied hard and entered university we are assured of a good life ahead. When we are in university our aim becomes to graduate and get a job, because once we get a job our life is assured. When we get a job we look forward to getting married and having children. Marriage is always a happy thing, and children are supposed to be great. Except most of the time children are the main reason we get headaches and quarrel with our spouses, together with money affairs. And there is no marriage without fights and tears and saying stuff we regret and finding we are falling out of love with people we are doomed to spend the rest of our lives with. And once we have children we look forward to retirement when we can finally have the time, freedom and money to do whatever we wish. Except it is also the time our illnesses flood in and our spouses die and we find ourselves being flung back and forth by our grown-up kids who do not want to care for us after all. And then we look forward to dying.
No single stage of our life is without its difficulties. At a certain point in life (usually the time of the mid-life crisis) people begin wishing they could become children again, or appreciate life better when they were youths. I compare life to a quadratic uphill curve. At the first half of our lives, we are looking forward to the future, always believing that the future simply must be better than our circumstances now, otherwise what are we living for? Then at the second half of our lives we look back constantly to the past, wishing we could turn back time and return to the point in our lives which had actually been the best. Life is not without regrets.
Some people therefore turn to instant gratification, feeling that the future is not trustworthy and what matters is enjoying life to its fullest now. We should all do that, but we should not give up hope of the future as well. Or rather, in a more pessimistic viewpoint, we should not do stuff to make our futures worse than they already are. That means committing crimes or doing drugs or getting into debt, which are things that are negative both now and in the future, really.
Maybe self-deception is really key to living a good life. They all say it is the anticipation, the process that counts more than the end result. Waiting for a bright future is what keeps us going in this meagre mortal life. But hope and optimism aside, we should also value what we currently have and be mentally prepared that the future is unpredictable. Even if things do not turn out the way we expect, we had a great time looking forward to it and we should cherish what we still have. Which may probably be anticipation of an even better future.