Thursday, May 28, 2015

When an Optimist Fails to Be Optimistic

This is the shirt I chose to wear on our hike this past weekend.

Except that I wasn't.

Optimistic, that is.

Wearing a shirt like that is a little like driving a car with a fish on have to always be on your best behavior. 

And I wasn't.

I started out with a good attitude.  The Hubster had printed out driving directions to a trail that was new to us, along with what he calls, "The Talkabout," a detailed account of the trail so it's nearly impossible to get lost.

He began to read the directions to me, but I decided that there was an easier way.  And since I was driving, I was allowed to take that way. 

Except that I wasn't sure how to get to one particular road.  

And that's when the trouble started.

I got annoyed at myself because I thought I'd passed the road, so I went "around the block," which, in Northern New Jersey is typically 5 miles or so.  

Turned out I was going the right way after all, and that frustrated me even more. 

It also turned out that the road I thought was a direct route...wasn't. 

Nowhere close.  It required some prior knowledge of the area, which I had. However, it also required prior knowledge that the road doesn't go straight, as shown on Google Maps. That I did not have.

At this point, I started becoming annoyed with the Hubs. After all, he wasn't helping! He claimed it was because he wasn't familiar with my phone (iphone snob), which was supposed to be navigating for me, but for some reason was silent. 

"Well, can't you at least follow along and tell me where the road goes?" I asked, in a sharp tone. And then, in a more shrill voice, "I can't drive and navigate at the same time!"

Oh, that's positive and affirming.

In other words, I got myself into another mess. Get me out of it!

But he wasn't having any of it. He was letting me wallow in my slop, pig that I was.

No matter what way I went, it turned out to be the wrong way, until at last we "arrived at our destination (according to the Google lady)," which was definitely NOT our destination.

We were now both agitated and angry at one another. Not to mention lost.

I waited for him to figure out what to do.

Another optimistic move.

He said, "I can't help you."

Wrong answer.


"I gotta pee," he said, and jumped out of the car into the brush. He couldn't get away from me quick enough.

I did what anyone who is Optimistic By Nature would do. 

I stewed. I muttered. I sneered. I may have even stuck my tongue out at him.

After settling down a bit, I reprogrammed my phone's gps, and we finally found the trailhead and parking lot. 

We had ceased all conversational activity. I was still mad at him.  I had wanted him to fix everything and he didn't. 

But I was also mad at myself for losing my more ways than one...losing my patience, losing my temper, and losing my optimistic outlook.

As I was walking across the parking lot, I seized a final opportunity to be optimistic...I made sure to put on a sad face so that all the other hikers would feel sorry for me. True story.

How's that for an ultimate optimistic attitude? 

I walked with my shoulders slumped and tried to will myself to cry. I confess, I really did that...tried to will myself to cry! 

But I couldn't, because this other ACTUAL optimistic side of me said, Oh, grow up Mary! Get over it and enjoy the day. Stop being so hard on yourself and on Brian.

As we approached the information kiosk at the trailhead, we both noticed a sign taped over the trail map poster that said, "New trails." 

The Hubs said, "So are we supposed to use the new trail map and not the Talkabout?"

I looked at him incredulously.


You're asking ME???

By this time, I had learned my lesson. In my calmest and nicest available voice, I replied, "Given my history of directions today, I don't think I'm the best one to make that decision."

I did notice, however, that the red trail looped around the reservoir, which seemed like a nicer hike than the designated green trail in The Talkabout.

"Okay, we'll stick to the Talkabout," he said.

Darn it!

I kept quiet and let him lead.

Blessings Along the Path,

PS: It wasn't until much later that I realized the irony of the shirt I was the parking lot, mind you. In case you've forgotten:

I hadn't even realized it...but the Hubster sure did.

Sweet Lucy...forever optimistic

Sharing this post with Holley at Coffee For Your Heart, Beth at Wedded Wednesday, Crystal at Thriving ThursdaysDeb at Blessing Counters, Arabah Joy at Grace & TruthBarbie at The Weekend Brew, Janis at Sunday Stillness, Joan at Sharing His Beauty, Susannah at Faith and Fellowship   


  1. Oh my gosh. Thanks for sharing this.I love my own way, and following that.And it is sometimes NOT the right way. Thanks for being transparent. Hang that shirt up somewhere that you can see it for inspiration :).

  2. Yeah, better to hang it than to wear it! Haha. Thanks for visiting, Lynne.

  3. Love the shirt! I can imagine the same thing happening to me too while wearing it. Maybe I better not buy one!

  4. Haha! Debbie, in the last year or so, I have been trying to live a positive lifestyle and I love the Life is Good t-shirts for gardening, hiking, sleeping, just knocking around. Marshall's sells them really cheap!

  5. Great story and great lesson. I wonder how often we all feel exactly as you did and let our frustration show toward those we are with. BTW-SIRI and I do not get along when I am trying to find my destination because I still think I am always right. Thank you for sharing at The Weekend Brew.

  6. Mary, my daughter once gave Siri a very nasty command...just for kicks...and Siri was "Siri"ously offended. She told her that it was not very nice! But I believe you that you know more. After all, Siri and Google Gail are just computers.

  7. Hi, Mary! This gave me a good laugh because it certainly sounds like a situation my husband and I would find ourselves in. I truly appreciate your transparency. Thank you for sharing this with us last week at Grace and Truth! :)
    Jen @ Being Confident of This

  8. Thanks, Jen. I enjoy trekking around all the Grace and Truth bloggers sites. I especially liked yours today about being praying parents.

  9. Mary,
    We are so alike - I can see me doing this. Not good though. But we learn - slowly. I think it wonderful that you saw your logo afterwards - too funny. Great story - of learning. Thanks for sharing at Sunday Stillness.

  10. Janis, I just wrote a sequel to that post. Ironic lesson learned this weekend. It never ends.