You disparaged people (people like me) for their cussedly nonspecific dissatisfactions, because to fail to embrace the simple fineness of being alive betrayed a weakness of character. You always hated finicky eaters, hypochondriacs, and snobs who turn up their noses at Terms of Endearment just because it was popular. Nice eats, nice place, nice folks– what more could I possibly want? Besides, the good life doesn’t knock on the door. Joy is a job.
-Lionel Shriver, from We Need to Talk About Kevin.
I characterize myself as a “glass half empty” person, but that is more of a reflection on my tendency to worry and dwell on things. I go through great pains to not be negative. For me, it’s a matter of self preservation. My money, and even more so my time, are precious to me. It pains me to think I’ve wasted either. So with each experience, I seek out the positive, even if that means to acknowledge that an experience was so disastrous as to be an adventure.
If an experience is going to be a negative one, it’s not worth doing. I’d rather spend an afternoon hanging out at home with my family, than go out and have a bad time. I recognize that some things are beyond your control, but I go through great pains to put a positive spin on things, so I don’t feel like I’ve been wasting my time. I make joy my job.
How do you approach your experiences? Do you make joy your job?