The Bright Side

I have often wished I was just a tad more optimistic.  I wish I had a natural inclination to look at the bright side of life, to see the “glass as half full,”and to assume that things will almost always work out just fine in the end.  That sounds like a wonderful perspective to have, and I really wish it was mine.  But it’s not.

I’m not exactly “Little Miss Doom and Gloom,” but I have always been the kind of person who isn’t surprised when problems show up, even the big ones.  When something bad happens in my life, the thought “but I never thought this would happen to me” doesn’t cross my mind.  I’m much more likely to think, “of course this happened to me!  Why wouldn’t it?”  It’s not something I’m proud of, believe me…..it’s just who I am.

But the good news is that attitudes can be changed, and I’m working hard to change mine.

Which is why, after living with our new dog Finn for over a week, I’m finally accepting him at face value and realizing that he is indeed a very nice little dog.  I liked him from the start, but I also found myself “waiting for the other shoe to fall,” meaning that he would exhibit some awful behavior that would make me regret bringing him home.  (In my defense, I’ve had a little experience along those lines.)   But happily, we haven’t seen a single serious behavior issue at all.

IMG_4558He’s actually sort of a lovable goof.  I don’t think he was first in line when brains were given out, but he seems to have made up for that with an extra helping of nice, and that’s a trade that will serve him well.  He has an adorable habit of leaping into the air for joy every third or fourth step when he’s running across the yard.  He’s shown nothing but friendly interest in our toddler grandson and is very housebroken.  In short, all my fears and worries about adopting him were for nothing.

Adopting Finn has helped me realize that there really is nothing to be gained by focusing quite so much on all the things that can go wrong in my life, and by focusing a whole lot more on all the things that can go right.  “Count your blessings” may sound hopelessly cheesy, but it’s actually a very helpful way to remind ourselves of all the good things we already have.  When I truly recognize the many, many, good things that have happened to me already, I can’t help but feel appreciative.  And more importantly, I have to acknowledge that it just stands to reason that other good things will come my way as well.  Of course bad stuff happens to us all, but it’s high time I stopped actively expecting it to show up on a regular basis.

I’ve come to believe that dogs can teach us many things if we’re willing to learn, and Finn is busy teaching me that sometimes, things work out exactly as we had hoped…and all we can do is be grateful.

127 thoughts on “The Bright Side

  1. You have to try to figure out what will happen. You will never really know unless you try. Its so hard to live by what if? regrets will flow and negative thinking will follow. Always stay on the bright side and live thinking good things and if its not as what you expect just live on the good things you have. Simply be thankful and avoid comparison. Living life to the fullest and each day changes.

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  2. I don’t know if I always expect the worst but I guess I’m always prepared for whatever might happen. Just so I’m not surprised..:) Dogs are a great source of inspiration and knowledge. He may not be the smartest but if he brings you happiness and joy, that’s all that really matters..:)

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    • Yes, that’s one of the reasons I tend to believe bad things can happen, so that I can have a plan for dealing with them if they do! And that’s not a bad thing, really. But sometimes I take it too far, and am so focused on what can go wrong that I’m not even acknowledging, or enjoying, what is going right. So I do have to work on that!
      As for Finn, we’ve lived with him for almost two weeks, and I still don’t think he’s very bright. But he is very sweet and loving, and he does give us joy. And you’re right….that’s all that matters and it’s more than enough for us!!!

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  3. Well as an unrepentant optimist, I think I can offer one tiny bit of perspective… If you are REALLY congenitally a pessimist (even if you don’t sport the doom and gloom outerwear), as I see it, your viewpoint would have to lead you to the conclusion that tomorrow ill be worse than today. And if so, you have all the reason in the world to be happy about your lot today (since it is better than tomorrow).. so you see, there is no getting around it , optimism wins the day, every time. Either because tomorrow will be better or because today is inevitably better than tomorrow.

    Chuckling about your dog and his ‘intellectual limitations”… We had once a very sweet dog but he suffered from comparison to his significantly smarter Aussie companion. It was hard not to compare. He was cute and loving but… In retrospect he was more like a dog, whereas the Aussie operated like a smart furry human.

    Great post! Enjoy your new family member.

    Ben

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    • No wonder you are an optimist! You have a way of looking at thing that make everything positive, no matter what…and I truly envy that. I also make it my goal.
      And yes, Finn isn’t the brightest bulb on the string (although he may be the most stubborn). But he is very loving that that is good enough for us. I think I really was comparing him to Lucy, who was also like a smart, furry human!

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  4. I am late to the comments I see but I wanted to commend you on adopting Finn. Almost 2 years ago, we adopted a tiny 8 lb. labradoodle who won our hearts. We went kind of crazy the first year and a half because he was so energetic but, although still rambunctious, he has toned it down quite a bit. He is very loving and affectionate, and he does what your Finn does, he is skips with joy. It is very endearing and I sometimes call him “Tigger” because he reminds me of the Winnie the Pooh character that is always bouncing.
    Our pup gets so happy just to be with us that he apparently cannot stop himself from bouncing. And goodness, if we take him for a walk he is besides himself with joy!

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    • Ooops forgot to mention that that tiny pup today weighs over 70 lbs and is the size of a small pony LOL. He thinks he is a lapdog and when I’m sitting down throws all 70+ lbs of himself spread out all over my body and just lays there.

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    • Your dog sounds adorable! And I’m not surprised by his size, as the labradoodles I’ve seen do get rather big. Finn is full-grown and supposed to be about two years old, but no one knows for sure. I do remember our other dogs, though, settling down when they reached two years of age, just like yours did. I love that he’s a 70-pound lap dog! Thanks for the comment!

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