I’ve had a hard time setting aside my idealized fantasy of what should happen in life as compared to what is happening. I like to create my world in print. People do and say as I wish, sex is perfect, events are ironic or fortunate – even great disappointments go smoothly.

<photo – mine – soup kitchen, Newark NJ>

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9 responses to “I’ve had a hard time setting aside my idealized fantasy of what should happen in life as compared to what is happening. I like to create my world in print. People do and say as I wish, sex is perfect, events are ironic or fortunate – even great disappointments go smoothly.

  1. Great disappointments never go smoothly, and people tend to make complete asses out of themselves when dealt with a crushing blow, but the reality that you eventually learn from them is pretty cool when you think about it.

  2. Optimism and fantasies lead to disappointment.

  3. I guess it depends how willing we are to learn. I think I’m still learning from mistakes I made in ’98.

    Not sure if I agree with you, Razz. Expectations and fantasies are a recipe for disappointment, but optimism is a much needed commodity these days. Perhaps you equate optimism with false hope. I associate it with believing that something better is possible.

  4. optimism n
    1: the optimistic feeling that all is going to turn out well [ant: {pessimism}]

    2: a general disposition to expect the best in all things [ant: {pessimism}]

    I see hope as slightly different in that hope is a desire for something whereas optimism is an expectation.

    When one hopes for something to happen there seems to me to be an acknowledgement that things may not go the way one wants.

    To me being optimistic implies an expectation that things will turns out well.

    So, I feel that optimism can (a word I left out before) lead to disappointment when things don’t turn out the way they were expected.

    Seneca (the stoic philosopher) felt that the way to happiness was to contemplate the worse that could happen so that one was prepared for bad things and pleasantly surprised by the good things.

    I’m not suggesting that one abandon hope, I just think that an optimistic mindset leads to unhappiness.

    As was sung by the Strolling Bones:

    No, you can’t always get what you want
    You can’t always get what you want
    You can’t always get what you want
    And if you try sometime you find
    You get what you need

  5. But how depressing life would be if everyone had that attitude! Don’t you think that optimism, hope, strength, and strong will go hand in hand when you’re trying to obtain something for yourself? When at last all options have failed, can you then submit to disappointment and reflect on what went wrong, why, and what should be done next. Pessimists are annoying and downers to be around. (Although, when you’re in a really bad mood, optimists can be even more annoying.)

  6. You only feel that way because you’re optimistic.

    I don’t expect much, therefore I’m not often disappointed, which helps me enjoy the good things in life, when they come to me, even more.

    If you check out my blog you’ll see that I’ve got a pretty good life and do a fairly good imitation of enjoying it.

  7. You imply that optimism is nothing more than naive faith mixed with expectation. I tend to see it as a much broader concept, bringing in a positive attitude and the opportunity for better. Perhaps I’m defining it by what it’s not – believing things will only get worse may dampen disappointments, but I can’t help but think it will also lead to more failure.

    If I write something to sell, thinking all the while that I probably won’t succeed, I’d be more realistic. It would also have a high likelihood of contaminating the work.

    I just don’t see optimism and realism as mutually exclusive. In fact, realism deals with now, but optimism believes in the future.

    If we reach the end our lives, I can’t decide if I would rather have had less disappointment or tried to change things for the better.

    Maybe that’s the thought I’m circling, which springs from what Shannon said: with such low expectations, why bother trying for better?

  8. “with such low expectations, why bother trying for better?”

    Yet somehow I do. I just don’t tend to get disappointed very often and that’s what I’m talking about.

    Have you ever read Candide?

    “but optimism believes in the future’

    Optimism is more about expecting things to go one’s way. When I do things, I hope they will turn out well. I try to manage to the situation so that things will hopefully turn out. I do at the same time consider the possible negative outcomes as well. After all, good luck is the outcome of good management. I don’t just optimistically assume things will turn out O.K.

    Please don’t tell me that you just jump into everything without considering other outcomes besides what you are hoping for. Would you go sailing in the Caribbean without life jackets or a life raft on board?

    Optimism strikes me as being indiscriminate and facile.

  9. Perhaps we’re making the same point with slightly altered language. I obviously don’t believe in blind faith, whether it’s labeled “optimism” or “religion” or “let’s invade Iraq they have really scary bombs I promise just believe me and we’ll do it right now.”

    I weigh the risks and potential outcomes of anything I do, and I acknowledge and prepare for the downside. But once I do it, I do so believing I can succeed. Maybe my optimism is what you call positive attitude.

    I don’t expect to win every game I play, but I’m sure as hell going to try, and I usually believe that I have a chance. There are definitely times when I’ve matched up against people I know will beat me, but I go in knowing that I’ll improve my game through the challenge.

    So, no. I don’t “expect” things to work out, I work to get the result I want.

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