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Optomist or pessimist: finding the right balance

Someone told me once that in life you're either an optimistic or a pessimistic person; whichever one you are, you're destined to be one for the rest of your life. In the end of it all, you're going to look at something in a positive or negative light.

We often struggle through our days, taking in the difficulties of the world in the best way possible. We don't always see the negative aspect of things sneak up behind us; they magically find their way into our thoughts, and soon enough our heads are filled to the brim with preposterous ideas. The next thing we know, we're laying in bed at night tossing and turning, unable to push the 'what if…' out of our minds. It seems that everybody these days is convinced that everyone can see right through them, as if others can see the flaws that we so diligently pick out in ourselves.

I think that we create pessimistic views out of our own worries and doubts. With all of our personally developed fears, we begin to let ourselves worry about the possible outcomes of future harmful proceedings. With the growing number of dreadful situations developing in our heads, we begin to lose trust in those around us. With the lack of trust that has developed, we begin to act negatively towards each other in defense of our 'well being.'

Eventually some people develop into the negative sort that feed off of the insecurities of others and depend upon the dreary side of life to convince themselves that their own life is somewhat interesting.

There is an old stereotype of a completely cynical figure known as the 'old man.' Since forever we have heard sorties of 'Mister Scrooge,' who hates little children and lives at the end of the street with a rickety sign in his yard that says, 'Keep off the grass.' To think that someone could ever be as negative as this poor old soul… The plot is not far behind and we soon learn something happened earlier on in his life that justifies his haughty means.

In the fairy tale ending, something or someone brings him to see that everything is fine and dandy, and he takes down the chain-linked fence. Sometimes the darker side of things just need to have a little light shed upon them to make it a whole different picture.

It's human nature to want to be happy, as it is human nature to want to be sad. It's funny how opposites always seem to attract, and that everything ends up being tied together in the end.

Some believe that you should live the most optimistic life as humanly possible. Sometimes we get depressed and cry, we have our worries and our doubts, but it always helps believe that things will work out for the better. Sometimes we just need to believe a little in our fellow neighbor to be just and truthful, and maybe someday we will all be able to believe that no matter what we have in life, that we can always find a way to be happy.

Some people would call these people ignorant to the woes of the world, they could accuse them of having no idea what true pain is or that they could never say these optimistic things if something awful happened in their own life; and maybe they have haven't. Maybe they have no idea what it feels like to lose everything, but that is when we must have faith in our 'ignorance' and hope that one day - if somehow we do end up with our life in the dust - that the optimistic point of views will pull us through to better end. That's what it means to be an optimistic person, to have faith in a situation where doubt exists.

Whether you are a pessimist or optimist, your point of view will always matter. Sometimes it takes a downer to bring us back to the realities of life. Although it is always important to live life to a certain extent of happiness, you don't want to be absolutely ignorant to all of the problems in life. Like Ying and Yang, we all need to find a suitable balance that allows us to carry on in life with a determined vigor. Live your life the way that suits you best, as well as what benefits those around you.

Angela Ratto is a senior at Riverdale High School. She writes a column every month for the Lake Oswego Review. Contact her via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..