For those who assume that the title above is an invitation to turn into alcoholism, rest assured that I have no intention to go against the typical New Year’s resolutions to eliminate addictions by creating a new one (although, accidentally, I might’ve turned someone as an online game junkie on New Year’s Day, but that’s another story).
For those who think that my enthusiasm for the New Year is due to roses planned throughout the year, pat yourself in the back for being a positive thinker. The fact is 2013 was full of thorns in so many downturns, that I felt I’d nowhere to go but rosily up this year. Yes, that was the Jupiter-ruled, hopelessly optimistic Sagittarian in me talking.
The line between delusion and optimism has always been rather thin since perhaps the first time human beings experienced emotions. But you know what I notice has been thinning in a rapid-fire pace in recent years? The fine line between realism and skepticism.
First off, I like statistics. I aced statistics classes throughout my undergrad and graduate business studies, and I enjoyed working with them during my brand management corporate career. Statistics provide a snapshot of a certain period in the past, which if used wisely and correctly helps projecting or forecasting for a certain period in the future. In my book, that’s one of the aspects of being realistic… at the beginning of a story. Not as the only possible outcome of a story that’s yet to run, because in my book that would be skepticism for not allowing the possibility that we may not know everything yet out there in the universe to have accounted everything on our forecast.
One of the most memorable chats during New Year’s brunch among us thirtysomething bunch was how simpler, yet seemingly more at peace our grandparents were. We’re all city-dwellers, who’ve lived in other parts of the world if I may add, and our grandparents, coincidentally, are lifelong smalltowners or villagers.
Granted, urban living bears most pressure than any— the pollution, the traffic, the pace, just to name a few. Opportunities are aplenty, and with them come the fierce competition—some healthy, most tend to be rat-racing. “The city that never sleeps” can no longer be affixed exclusively to New York, as metropolitans worldwide tend to go 24/7 now. The pressure to get ahead, or often to just stay afloat, is continuous and strong that we keep marching on and, at our supposed resting times, instead go searching for new ventures to march to. The recent case of the ad girl in Jakarta who died in ICU after reportedly working for 3 days straight, or the thirtysomething professionals who suddenly started dying on us lately, was and should have served as a tragic reminder.
What my brunch buddies and I curiously realized was that while we all had higher education and wider exposure than what our grandparents enjoyed, we seemed to get anxious or worried easier and longer than they would. We know more about germs, so we worry about our food. We know more about viruses, so we worry about our trips. We know more about finances, so we worry about our cashflow. We know more about parenting, so we worry about our kids. We know more about politics, so we worry about the elections. Drawing back from one of those decision-making classes I took, it’s the classic case of “you know that you don’t know” versus “you don’t know that you don’t know”. Perhaps ignorance, or lack of knowledge, is bliss after all.
So, what to do? I have no immediate plans to abandon urban living, or expanding knowledge for that matter, but I’m seriously considering adopting the more relaxed attitudes of our grandparents or, for the lack of more politically-correct word, small town folks. I’m more relaxed than I was during my corporate years but, as ironic as it sounds, I see room to grow even much less high-strung. I’ve always been relatively optimistic, or at least looked the part, but I will get less conflicted for openly wishing against the statistics among the high-achievers or uber-rational crowd dotting my circle.
I will still read voraciously and form opinions – as a writer it’s impossible not to—but I may offer them more selectively while worry less about possible comebacks. I will inject more discipline into my workout but draw out less guilt pangs for relishing the 8-hour beauty sleep. I will continue making new connections yet dealing more resolutely with the ill-meaning souls. I shall be as carefree in love as I was during my early twenties, but without mentally beating myself whenever things go south.
Delusion-optimism, realism-skepticism. Whichever side you are or I’m leaning on, I’ll have a round. Clink-a-dink, for rosier 2014 I’ll cheerfully drink.