If you paint in your mind a picture of bright and happy expectations, you put yourself into a condition conducive to your goal.
Norman Vincent Peale
The Power of Positive Thinking
Back in my formative years (the 50’s) positive thinking was the rage. It was like the world had discovered something brand new- the power of positive thinking. Of course it was new to me. I was a teenager and everything was new- even if it wasn’t. Still there was lots of buzz on TV, my mother;s book club and even on the street. It was a big deal and in those days, a big deal lasted for months, not hours.
Like most big deals, it didn’t have a lasting effect on me, possibly because when I went to college I learned how superficial such thinking was. I came out of college full of sophistication and negative thinking about just about everything. Not only was I not positive about the world around me, I wasn’t even positive about myself. The 60;s did nothing to reduce that negativity, The world was a mess. You couldn’t trust anybody over 30 and the world was in a conspiracy to put you down.
Then I got old.
In the 70’s I crossed the great divide and became untrustworthy myself. This was disconcerting for me. It left me without meaning or direction but over time the fog began to clear. I began to ask serious questions like ‘Why wasn’t I trustworthy anymore?’ and ‘Who came up with those silly ideas?’ Life had taken a turn and become serious. I had a job and was considering marriage. How was I going to manage these completely new life concepts? I did what everyone I knew was doing. I winged it and hoped that nobody would notice.
In some ways all those years working and raising my family are like a long dark tunnel. My nose was so buried in details that I never understood where I was going or even why. Using the sophisticated reasoning I learned in college, I didn’t expect much, and didn’t dream about much. The world about me and everyone in it was up to no good and I wasn’t going to expect special treatment.
Too late now, I see the light!
Well I blew it. The whole darned thing. I’d have been much better not to have bought into the negatives foisted on me by higher education. Not that I failed. The kids turned out OK after several scary side trips. I’m still married. I retired- twice. It’s just that if I had raised my eyes and seen the world as a wonderful place full of opportunity and rewards, I could have done better.
It’s all spilled milk now. You don’t get a do-over and , frankly, I don’t think I really want to go around again. These days, I’ve learned to see the world differently, more like Norman Vincent Peale. I thought that college was my way out of the boring life of my childhood. It sure was but looking back, boring looks pretty good to me now.
Has getting older given you an attitude adjustment? Is it like mine of something else altogether?