Why Not?

I went to a great party this week in New York City.  But there was one conversation that needs to be purged from my head, so I’ll relay it here – and move on.

It was one of those bits of party small talk, when someone said to me “why are you such an optimist – you’re like a little kid?”  I answered him with the first thing that popped into my mind with “because I believe in myself”.  He laughed and said “well sooner or later, you’ll end up like the rest of us cynics”.

I replied with a question to him “Is it easier for you to wake up feeling defeated or hopeful?”  And then I moved on to talk to someone else.

This attitude seems to be more prevalent in big, pretentious cities where somehow it’s perceived “cool” to be a cynic.  Not sure why that is.  I’m not even sure why people seem to take some kind of pleasure in discouraging others by invalidating their dreams – as if they are somehow doing you a favor in showing you the folly of your ways.

This is not gender specific but sorry ladies – we’ve all tried to “change” our men – with good intentions of course. But that sort of thing never ends well because people need to be true to themselves and not live their lives to please others. You have to believe in yourself before you can expect others to believe in you.

It’s hard to be a dreamer.  Dreamers fail more times than they succeed.  But imagine a world without them – replaced by all the cynics that seem to take more pleasure in discouraging others rather than “shining them up”.

Hang out with the “why not?” crowd – not the folks who question “why?”

“In a world that keeps turning you down
Only the heart knows where the strength can be found”
Jackson Browne

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8 Replies to “Why Not?”

  1. Gail, you’re absolutely right about hanging out with the right crowd: you have choices, and it’s important to make the choices that are likely to help us get here we want to go. (There’s a big difference between a healthy questioning and cynicism: one keep you in reality, the other sends you into the abyss.)

    My recent experience in New York, though (I just moved here in January) is quite different. I’ve found a terrific amount of creative energy and enthusiasm here, and a lot of dreamers. I’m delighted to have finally made the move.

    1. Thanks Ed – it all comes down to hanging with the dreamers and those “walking the walk” and not just “talking the talk”. We’ll have to meet for coffee some day and share stories.

  2. Great advice Gail – and just what I needed. I especially like the way you make the concept of being optimist into a logical decision. I hope you return to Cleveland sometime soon, so I have the chance to share stories with you.

  3. Couldn’t agree more!! Great post and thanks for sharing. “Hang with the why not?crowd” – amen to that. Since I left the legal world to pursue my travel and photography passions, I found many of the “why” people in my life and have since surrounded myself more with the “why not” friends. 🙂

  4. I actually got rid of old friends who would tell me to ‘grow up’ – to stop ‘living in a fantasy world’ – so much happier w/o negative cynics in my life 😀

  5. I am proud to say I live my life looking at the world as a child does- eyes wide open and with hope in my heart. And, why not? The world is only a reflection of what you choose to see. Some see the bad and others see the good. I am glad you, Gail (my dear, kindred spirit) are on the side with us “kids”- loving and embracing life and our dreams! I can’t wait for our next “play date”. 🙂

  6. “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you like everybody else, means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” ~e.e. cummings

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