Sometimes, the best conversations happen late at night, when our unconscious mind takes over. Our deepest and darkest fears come out, but at the same time, some of the most brilliant thoughts come to mind as well.
One Friday night, around 4 am, my friend and I were discussing our differing takes on life when my friend told me about his perspective, and I began to ponder my own perspective and how the two differing viewpoints led to us being entirely different people. I always prided myself on being a fairly optimistic person… well, that is until second quarter of junior year came along. I used to always be happy, and no matter the level of stress, I found a way to be optimistic. It was because I had this view that life was good, the world was good, and everything would be good in the end. I stopped feeling this second quarter, though, and it was partly because the stress of junior year had broken me. I was pulling all-nighters left and right, and my mental health was slowly deteriorating. I could no longer find the energy to be happy. It wasn’t until one day in Spanish that the tears finally came, and I texted my friend about it. It was then that he called me naive and told me this is the real world. This is reality, and it’s something that I should learn to accept.
Obviously, at first, I didn’t believe him. But that Friday night, when he talked about our perspectives, I finally found truth to his point of view. He accepted the idea that bad things happen, and life isn’t perfect. Maybe I thought this was too pessimistic when he first told me, but after our conversation, I don’t think it is. Life isn’t happy all the time, nor is it always filled with everything good. The fact is, if we keep thinking that good things will happen, we become prone to expectations. We expect happiness, and we expect perfection; when this doesn’t happen, we falter. With my friend’s perspective, this isn’t a problem. There’s no ideology that things will get better. Yet, there is a clear distinction between his perspective and a depressing one. He doesn’t accept that bad stuff will happen in the future, but he doesn’t expect good; he just doesn’t think of the future. If shit happens in the present, he accepts it and moves on.
I may not have agreed with this perspective until now, but I think adopting it has changed me. I have stopped feeling sadness with every small inconvenience in my life; I have found a way to be content with what I have, and to accept my life. I still find the inner motivation to work hard, but it’s not to better my life; rather, it comes from my own love for the things I do. I’ve realized it has made me find more joy in everything, and I dedicate my time to all that I love so much more. Perhaps the most important lesson I have learned from comparing perspectives is “Expect nothing. Appreciate everything.”