Unrealistic Optimism versus Optimistic Realism

For years, I’ve had my own personal battle…I’m a recovering unrealistic optimist.

Confused?  You’ll continue to be.

In my early family years, everywhere I would go, I would be late.  It was a mixture of refusing to acknowledge how much time it took to get 5 people out of the house and extreme optimism about the traffic conditions and distance.  Regardless, I was always 15 to 45 minutes late everywhere I went.  It took a remark from a family member to make me realize what a problem it had become. 

Fast forward many years and I now manage to get most places on time and even earlier than intended.  I took myself in hand and realized how much I hate the rushed feeling of driving somewhere knowing I was going to be late and then feeling bad about being late.  Bad energy all round.  I now overestimate the time involved to get everyone out the door and have decided that pessimism about distance and traffic serves me well.

I have now become an optimistic realist…for family events and appointments.

The funny thing is that you solve one issue, only to open the door on another one.

The realization came to me as I was listing precariously to the left trying to haul my basket of groceries around the discount (enormous) grocery store. 

Let’s face it, paying the $1 for a grocery cart is a commitment to grocery shopping.  It says I’m serious about shopping, and I intend to do a lot of it.  Today, I imagined a more flirtatious shopping expedition complete with arriving at the till with my handful of healthy grocery items.

They say we never plan to fail, we fail to plan.  More appropriate to my situation would be…I never intend to list with groceries, I fail to look at the grocery list.

Here are just a few items on my list…a carton of soy milk, two 2 kg bags of French fries, 1 L of ice cream, 4 cans of refried beans, a dozen sparkling water and 1 jar of butterscotch sauce.  Now before you judge me on the health value of the products in my basket (Saturday night awesomeness), let’s think weight.  Those are a handful of items…a handful of very heavy items.  Thank goodness it didn’t include milk.

So here I am having to revise my errant ways again and re-dedicate to my desire to be an optimistic realist as opposed to an unrealistic optimist in the field of grocery shopping.  It’s time to stop with the flirtation and get real with commitment.  Get the cart.  I never regret it.  I would hammer the table with that point, but my arm is too sore.

Photo by Veronika Koroleva on Unsplash