After my husband read a recent column in which I described a low point in my writing career, (my presenting to an audience of two—an exhausted mother and an intoxicated man) he responded, “You’re looking at this all wrong. When the man slurred out, ‘That wuz’ just wonderful,’ he could have meant it. You should look on the bright side.”
Look on the bright side. His words have stuck with me, and I’m trying, although it’s hard.
Yesterday, I discovered that my newly released survival story is already available at a thrift store for a discounted price. It’s only a few months old, yet a buyer already dumped it off at a second-hand store. I could hang my head and whimper or … I could take the optimistic view and tell myself someone had purchased it and unable to put it down, read it in one day and desperately wanted to share it with the world so they donated it.
I’ll make myself feel even better by collecting a few encouraging quotes.
“I love what I do, and when you love what you do, you want to be the best at it.”—Jay-Z
I do love writing, but at times I feel overwhelmed with all that’s on my “to do” list. I could get stressed out, or… I could be grateful that I’m not at the stage where my kids are handing me knitting needles so I have something to fill my time.
“Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it.”—Lord Chesterfield
“Start where you are. Do what you can. Use what you have.”—Arthur Ashe
I recently got an invitation to join tennis players for doubles. I LOVE tennis, but was disheartened to discover I was the weakest player. The unfortunate person who gets me for a partner has never groaned aloud, but I imagine them doing so. I could cower in humiliation and self-reproach, or… I could look on the bright side and say I’m learning from my competitors and am on my way to becoming the next Serena Williams. Yes. I’m going with that.
“If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on.”—Sheryl Sandberg
I’m about to have a birthday. I could groan at the advanced number, think about the upcoming dental work I’ll need to endure and pay for, wonder at the parts that will wear out before the year is over, or … I could call out to the heavens to one of my teen idols who sang, “Living ain’t easy, loving’s twice as tough.”
“Hey, Bobby Vee. Remember when I was thirteen, and you sang Come Back When You Grow Up Girl just for me?”
“Uh, yeah, I guess so,” a mystic voice calls back.
“Well, I just want to say, I’m grown up, and you were right. Livin’ ain’t easy, but I got through the heart breaks. I’m no longer the wide-eyed innocent living in a paper-doll world.”
“Sure enough.” A shimmery form with slicked-back hair waves to me. “I’m glad to see you’ve come back, baby. Maybe we can perform together sometime. You and me on stage. Bobby Vee and the newly discovered grown-up Amy.” He runs his hands through his hair.
My singing voice needs some work and I haven’t yet learned how to play even one instrument, but I decide not to mention it. After all, a person’s never too old to set new goals or make more dreams, so I simply give him a thumbs-up and a bright smile.
He blows me back a kiss.
“Optimism is a happiness magnet. If you stay positive, good things and good people will be drawn to you.” — Mary Lou Retton
Bobby Vee’s band appears, and he sings just for me. My heart melts. Ah, yes, there’s something to this optimism. I am going to keep looking on the bright side.