Desperately Seeking Optimism

I don’t know about you but my optimism filter is feeling the strain. Everywhere I look there is something else getting in the way of the glimmer of happiness. I am certain though that happiness and joy is still there, only its presence at the moment is fleeting.

This week has seen Lisa’s birthday. We generally take the week off, traditionally because it is half-term so the boys were always off. We never normally go anywhere but just spend some time with each other. This year we have the week off, unfortunately the boys are in Manchester and were unable to come home. We did however manage to have a nice week. We have never been known for wild excitement, so our activities we not completely curtailed by the pandemic. We had a potter around town on one day having a lovely lunch in Lion and Key (a delightful pub in Hull’s Old Town). Then on Friday (Lisa’s Birthday) our friends came round and we had a meal and laughed heartily until until the new tier 2 restrictions came into force. It was great to see them, and we all had such a wonderful time, the highlight of a relaxing week.

I woke up Saturday morning with a bit of a thick head and was greeted with the news of us going into a 2nd lockdown, which was not unexpected. The haphazard, shambolic approach to informing the nation upset me more than the news. I am always hopeful that outbreak of competence is going to take hold of our government. As all football fans will know, it is the hope that kills you. So my mood for the rest of the day was set. That sets me off in a pessimistic view of the world. Now I am concentrating on being 200 miles away from my lovely mum with no prospect of seeing her soon. Our boys are in Manchester again with little prospect of seeing them before Christmas. Our dog is getting old and infirm and spent most of the day looking tired and sad. Then to top it all Sean Connery died! That was the last straw, it all got a bit much, and I found myself crying watching clips of James Bond being all alpha male. It was just another reminder that our world is changing and will never be the same again.

This morning I got up early as usual, and as usual I spent the first hour reading the paper (The Observer today). I got to an article about a cafe in Leeds that made 200 sandwiches for children during the half-term. I was overcome with the owners compassion and love of humanity. What an amazing lady, and I know her’s was not the only story. I found myself sobbing as I read it. The sadness of the whole thing just touched my emotions and released all the sadness that has been sitting in my chest for the past few weeks. Boy I needed that! We all need something to release our emotions, so we can articulate what we are feeling.

The emotions I am feeling at the moment is fear of the future, all wrapped up in this need to be happy and fulfilled all the time. The uncertainty of everything is very unsettling however there is also a level of certainty that things will never be the same again. Therefore a lot of the emotion I am feeling is loss. I am and possibly all of us are grieving for a life we will never have again. This is a process and we have to experience the sadness and worry for us to get the most out of the new world that will inevitably come. It is our opportunity at the moment to concentrate on what is truly valuable to us. Only we know what we value, so search for it identify it and hold on tight to it as what you value will guide you through this challenging days.

I am learning that I have to make space for all this pain and tears, if I don’t I spend too much time and energy trying to chase the bad things away and miss the moments of love and joy that are ever present. Even on the dullest and wettest of days there is always some daylight.


Published by Matt Smith Personal and Professional Coach

Performance and Life Coach

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