My daughter dropped me off at home yesterday just after dark. We'd spent the afternoon seeing a really good movie (Life of Pi) with a new friend, and I was in a great mood. Coming from the cold and rain into my cozy house felt like walking into a warm hug, and Levi and Gimpy made me smile with their obvious delight at having me home again. Life is good, I thought for the umpteenth time of the day.
The good mood lasted through the evening, only beginning to wane after I read something online that oozed negativity. I know I'm susceptible to getting the blues after too much exposure to other people's bad moods. In fact, it's taken me years to learn that sometimes I can do or say something to lift someone's spirit, and sometimes, for the care and well being of my own inner child, I just need to step away.
Anyway, that set me to thinking about optimism versus pessimism. I know some people for whom the glass always seems to be half full and others who usually find it half empty. The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that "half empty" and "half full" don't cover all the variations. There's a whole scale of possibilities in that glass.
My own optimism, for example, is frequently tempered by an innate ability to spot a potential problem the way a hawk spots a field mouse. (It's why I'm usually never caught in the rain without an umbrella.) My kids would be quick to tell you that once I think I've uncovered a possible glitch, I feel compelled to point it out. That's true, unfortunately, but only (as the lawyers say) out of an abundance of caution. I don't dwell on it. So, most days I could declare confidently that my glass is half full, but on other days I might say, "My glass is already down to half full; isn't it good that I noticed it so I can refill it before the reservoir goes dry?"
Consider another woman I know. I see her infrequently (by choice) because her glass is always, always half empty or below. Also, it's always someone else's fault. Her response to the half full or half empty question would likely be, "While I was away today, some sorry son of a gun (and I'm pretty sure I know who it was) came to my house and drank half my water. He thinks I'm stupid, but he's got another think coming! He prob'ly tells everybody, 'Oh, she's got plenty of water.' He believes he's, like, entitled to any and everything I have, and he couldn't care less whether I live or die. People can be sooo cruel."
So what about you? Is your glass clearly half full or half empty? If it's not so clear, how would you characterize it?