THE OPTIMISTS - Rachael McDonald

- Day dream believer, rainy day lover and educator

Sunday, November 11, 2018

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It seemed the right thing to do ahead of diving straight into the 'silly season', and in this time of incredible love and hate, confidence and fear, fake news and alternative truths, to hear shared voices of optimism. SO asked the question: What's your take on optimism?

In my life there are no April showers.

There is, however, major torrential rainfall that causes serious and expansive flooding and the all-too-familiar, not-quite-welcomed-but eventually-appreciated after-effects for a while. During these times, I'm either dressed for the weather or I find myself soaked from head to toe. Either way, I see, I feel, I taste and I smell the effects of the extreme weather first-hand.

That's about the time I say aloud to myself in true Jamaican style, “What a rain!”

When I was younger, rainy days meant time off from school and were greeted with much enthusiasm and excitement. What could I possibly do all day long? How much could I read? What games could I play? Would I be able to do all of what I had envisioned? These questions undoubtedly provoked an awakening inside that I would clearly remember in the years to come.

And, as I've gotten older and started to ride out a couple rainstorms and hurricanes, some back-to-back, I remain struck by hope. This is probably more of a necessity than any mere random desire. I know it is, because I believe it and I feel it. It's this intense yearning to connect with this need to survive (and not just survive but you know,surviveto still believe in that big-picture vision and to test the phrase my mother introduced me to a long time ago: “everything always works out for me.”

Admittedly, that was the most selfish-sounding thing I ever heard and defied all the hours I spent in Anglican church and confirmation class as a young teen. But when you hear something over and over, you tend to resign yourself to trying a thing; after all, nothing tried, nothing failed.

Between the consistent reminders that it doesn't rain forever, practical rules of the law of attraction and my sister's random pep talk every once in while, there is still excitement and the deep desire to find possibilities that exist in unfamiliar places when it pours. Necessity is after all the mother of invention. So I continue to find real and true sunshine in the word optimism knowing the sought- after figurative pot of gold is at the end of the rainbow that only comes when the rains are over.

This is not to be confused with me thinking my life is perfect, because it is definitely one coloured with clouds of chaos, changing landscapes (literally), and daily bolts of thunder and lightning that sometimes strike the same place more than twice. But the thing about floods is that if you survive one, you're able to survive another. And you eventually bid farewell to skies of grey, you fall in love with starry nights, greet sunny days as and when they come and become gratefully obsessed with turning visions into realities.

This is how I define optimism.

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