I was part of an interesting conversation yesterday in one of my classes when one of the students asked the professor if she (gasp!) even liked teaching. To our delight, she replied that yes, she did indeed enjoy teaching. She liked the freedom it provided her to pursue other interests, the flexible schedule, the world of "academia", and best of all, that she could come into class in a bad mood and leave feeling much happier and "with a smile on her face" because her "students always seem to be happy and laughing". Ah, that's so great to hear. That, in fact, put a smile on my face.
But what was most interesting about this was another student's reaction: She said that we (the students) always seem to be happy and laughing "because we're still optimistic". This got quite a laugh from all of us, but as the conversation continued, I sat back and started discussing this idea with myself inside of my head. "Because we're still optimistic" played over and over in my head, and I began to think about it a bit more. Does optimism wane as one gets older? Do the pressures of the "real world" cloud our view and slowly take away from the positive view we once had about life when we were just little tykes?
I sure have met a few "old" people whose negativity was just too much to bear, but I know quite a lot of people who remain positive despite many years of living, working and experiencing the world have brought into their worlds. I think an 80-year old person can be just as optimistic about the future as a 16-year old...it all comes down to the way we allow ourselves to think.
I found a great quote that reflects this idea and I thought I would share it with you today so that you might keep it in mind the next time you think you're outgrowing your "optimistic years"...
Years wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. -Douglas MacArthurAs you see, age really has no correlation with optimism, but enthusiasm and attitude on the other hand, have quite the connection with positive thinking. We're always seeing "anti-aging" creams advertised on TV and in magazines, promising to erase the wrinkles that time has placed on our aging faces. But what about the wrinkles that are forming on our hearts, minds, and souls? They too can be fixed....prevented, even...if we just learn to change our outlook on things.
So I challenge you to stay optimistic, no matter what your age, and promise to remain so throughout your life. Don't let the little things in our crazy world allow you to give up on finding the good in life or to lose enthusiasm in all you do. No one wants wrinkles, especially not on our soul...