I reckon I sit at around 50% realism, 40% optimism and 10% pessimism. I think that realism comes naturally to scientists. The goal of being a scientist is to iterate towards more accurate versions of reality, which would imply realism is a life goal. However, I understand the value of optimism, particularly when in a bubble and in a pandemic. While an unrealistic optimist can be somewhat annoying when you think their bright future simply can’t eventuate, they are still likely to improve your day, just by being there. When I asked Chris for help in identifying friends who are optimists, his immediate response was to think of people who brighten up the room whenever they walk in. So here are a couple of people who I would rent for our bubble right now, if we were allowed to ship them around the country.
Meet Tony, eternal optimist, enthusiast and cheer leader. Tony will turn up at your door with ginger nuts, wine and cheese and totally brighten up your afternoon, evening or whenever it might be. He will also dig your long drop, chop your wood, help you fix your roof or participate in whatever not-so-pleasant task you have been putting off, and make it a whole lot more fun to do. Tony sees life as a continual adventure and voyage of enjoyment and passes that feeling on to those around him. We wondered how Tony was surviving lockdown, because he is often to be found flitting round the country, or the world, visiting his many friends. Tony has many, many friends, including an ex-girlfriends club with a significant number of signed-up members. He is superb at keeping in regular contact with them and creating new friends everywhere he goes. That means we shouldn’t have been concerned in the slightest about Tony’s wellbeing. He is enjoying his lockdown in Mangawhai, Northland, holed up with a super yacht chef; only Tony would be able to access a super yacht chef for his bubble on Level 4 lockdown short notice. Equally, I would say, the super yacht chef is pretty lucky to have found Tony to lock down with.
And meet Terri, whose bright, warm and compassionate spirit enhances any place that she happens to be. If the shit is going to hit the fan, or has already done so, Terri can be counted on. When Dad died very suddenly I needed someone in Christchurch to go and be with Mum, until we could drive from Gibbston to Christchurch. Terri was the person I called and she was just great.
Terri’s one of the people who has taken an economic hit early in this pandemic, because she has been a travel agent for the last 25 years. There’s no work for travel agents for the foreseeable future, therefore the company in which she works is laying off almost all its staff. But you can trust Terri not to sit on her rear end and focus on her loss or financial situation. Very shortly after she got the bad news from her employer, I got an email saying that now she has her opportunity to work with disadvantaged youth, which is the direction in which she would really like to take her career. She sent through a bunch of advertisements regarding jobs which she can apply for, and was already onto revising her CV. Terri is doing the bubble thing with two friends in Christchurch – lucky people!
Given the unfortunate lack of rental optimists available to us at present (perhaps in a Level 3 scenario?), our bubble members are just going to have to harness whatever proportion of optimism we possess, brush up on our personal optimism skills, and call our optimists on a regular basis for a good dose of brightness.