I am an optimist. Those of you who know me know this to be true. People often ask me if I have always been this way or is it a learned behaviour. To be perfectly honest, I have always been this way. When I wrote my book, I Am Choosing to Smile, I realized that, like pretty much every other person on the planet, I’ve had lots of tragedy in my life. It was my faith, family, friends and optimism that got me through.
Forty or more years ago, I read a copy of the “Optimist Creed” in the local paper. Someone had submitted it with no other information attached to it – it was a lovely message which I promptly cut out and kept on my fridge for years until it became old, brittle and yellowed with time. When I read this creed so many years ago it was an epiphany moment for me. There were indeed other people who strived to live their lives the way I did! I was not alone in my optimistic approach to life. Truthfully, it’s a WHOLE LOT harder to adhere to than the Ten Commandments but I give it my best shot every single day!
Imagine my surprise when a complete stranger approached me at the Burger King playground almost a decade after discovering the creed. I was with my two boys who were 3 and 9 at the time. This man and his wife had been watching me, the one-legged lady, playing happily with her kids and he took the time to come outside, handed me a card with the Optimist Creed on it, and invited me to join the local chapter of the Optimist Club.
“Are you kidding me? There’s an ACTUAL CLUB for people like me?” He just grinned and assured me there was. They had four members.
The first task that they assigned me as a “new member” was to bring in ten other members. It was an easy ask because the people I loved most in my life were already optimists too. My entire family joined and many of my friends. I had no idea that it was considered an “impossible” ask and they were just teasing me!
That was over 27 years ago and I’ve been a member ever since. I’ve seen our numbers dip to half a dozen and rise close to 50 over the years. We are at 21 members strong right now and it’s a wonderful group of caring individuals who help kids in need in our community. When you find something that works, you stick with it … which, come to think of it, is probably why I’m still with my husband!