Monday, January 10, 2011
When Cynicism Surrounds You....
I talked with a couple of old friends recently. This was part of my plan to reconnect with some old friends through Face book. A good idea at the time, or so I thought.
When I last talked to S and J, it was over 10 years ago. Back then they were in their late 20s. Young, vibrant, with careers in Manhattan. One was engaged and the other happily married her college sweetheart. Since then they each gave up their careers, moved to suburbia and are raising 3 kids. Both expressed the same feelings to me - they are totally exhausted and fed up. Fed up with their husbands, with their finances. One even went so far to send me a recent picture of her to see just how exhausted she looks. I was at a loss as to how to respond. Were their husbands really unhelpful jerks or were they just run down by raising small kids, by the recession, by I don't know what? I don't have much experience in this area, it's been hard enough taking care of myself. So I enthusiastically ended one e-mail with, 'Here's to 2011 being a much better year for us both!'.
S. responded, "Umm..really? I seriously doubt that from what I see so far".
When I told J that I'm in a relationship with a nice guy that took me just about an entire lifetime to find - She replied, "Oh, it's always good when you're dating. Wait 20 years. My great aunt always said even the nices ones turn out to be jerks in the end".
Now I've surely been too much of a cynic in my time. But as N said when he used to read my blog, he found the cynicsm and self deprecication funny. What he liked most was that no matter how fed up I was, I put a positive spin at the end of each post. (Did I?). At the end of these e-mails with S and J I couldn't seem to put a positive spin on anything.
The new year is doomed. The nice guys are future jerks. Geez, what do these girls actually look forward to?
Sure we all know many cynics in our life. I come from a long line of them. Seems my sister inherited the cynicism from my mom and 5 aunts. It's funny at times but if you're surrounded by it too much, it gets old fast. These cynics never really seem happy to me. They don't share my hopeless romantic side or like to believe that ignorance is bliss.
Then I read this on-line article (source unknown):
AT THE RISK OF SOUNDING TOO EARNEST, let me say this: Cynicism is caused by broken hearts. Sincere belief in a company, a group, a system, or another person forces you to put something real on the line, something with deep tethers to your emotional core. If you offer that up, and you fail -- or others fail you -- your heart shatters.
Then the choice emerges. Either you fall into a fresh bitch spiral, or you do the most difficult thing any man can do: Believe once again. That means moving forward through the things that broke your heart in the first place
Now I've had my heart shatter more than a few times in life. And I've fallen into all the cycles- the pity one, the bitching one...You name it, I've felt it. But there is one feeling I always try to hold on to all along - hope. Which brings you out of your rockbottom state to believe once again.
Luckily Facebook later sent a positive e-mail my way. From an old friend I called my angel way back when I traveled solo on a flight from Australia with a broken foot. My seatmate turned out to be a nurse. She took care of me the entire long flight. She laughed for hours about my crazy date stories back then, and years later
she got the biggest kick out of the story of how N and I met and likes to mention some bird joke in her what seem to be quarterly e-mails. This one was different though. It read, "I'm ecstatic. I'm expecting! Yup, I'm 42, we are slightly scared to death but simply can't wait! I think everyone had given up hope, my mum especially on becoming a grandmother, but I never stopped believing."
So I guess through it all - the unemployment, the 98 horrific dates, the everything else not-so-good in life, that deep down I never stopped believing either. And in the end, it's that belief that brings exactly what you need to you.