Le verre est a moitié vide

I’m a glass-half-empty person, so no wonder I like the French.

France is a nation of pessimists, deux amies françaises averred to me this week. I asked both of them (who don’t know each other) just after I read the recent NYT piece by Jane E. Brody, A Richer Life by Seeing the Glass Half Full.

My husband, however, is a glass-half-full person– not surprising, since in many cases, opposites attract. I’ve always admired his persistence and motivation, two qualities Brody says that optimists usually exhibit. He tackles problems with a focus on solutions, looks for the good in stressful situations, and believes that somehow, everything will work out. Over the years we’ve been together, some of his positive attitudes have rubbed off on me — but not all.

I’m not always “No-we-can’t,” but of the two of us, he’s the idealist and I’m the realist (and, being me, I don’t mean that I’m a realist in a good way). I’m a worrier and always have been. Unlike Brody, I haven’t fretted over the social, political and societal issues that I couldn’t do very much about. I have fretted about family issues that I could do little or nothing to solve, plus all those other things that I could change or fix. And yes, rather than looking on the bright side, I have focused on the worst that can happen.

After reading the article, though, I decided to evaluate whether I’ve evolved from my natural negative tendencies — whether I’ve fait de progrès. As my children grow into adulthood, I think I have, at least as a mom. As a writer, I believe that I have, as well. It’s still sometimes a struggle. I’m not always inspired, but I keep trying, keep writing and keep reading. Developing habits and a routine has helped, which I’ll explain in a future post. Watching and trying to emulate my husband’s work ethic and attitudes has helped a lot, and so has stepping back to focus and re-focus on my goals.

Can I change into a glass-half-full person? I’m working on it. Optimistically, I googled the phrase and discovered a new restaurant to try the next time I’m visiting Chapel Hill: Glasshalfull located in Carrboro, N.C., the town next door. What a nice surprise — and maybe a way to pursue that richer life.

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