The Choice

I always try to look on the bright side of life. And not just because it’s a song by which to live your life, though I would argue it certainly is. Case in point: A few years ago, I passed this deer on one of many trips to Hamilton to visit the hospital. I had set off early, around 6:30, hoping to see something worth taking photographs of. And I did.

Clearly this animal, caught flat-footed in the middle of a field, was not expecting a car to go past. It just stood and watched as I got quietly out of the car and setup the camera. No fear, more curiosity. Evaluating me. Was I a threat? It correctly decided not. We gazed at each other for a while before the innocent critter got bored and ambled away. My last view was a little white tick-ridden tuft disappearing behind a stand of trees.

My recollection of that day, just now when I saw this photo while browsing my collection, was not that dark time of cold hospital corridors and test results. It was of this fleeting interaction. Thinking of that time brings a smile, because of this. A small thing, but it really set me up for the day. Which makes me stop and think.


Being optimistic is a choice. Often, a hard one. And it takes commitment. And practice. It is not always easy to find something good, on bad days. But it will be there, if you look. And that. Makes. A difference.

Let’s acknowledge that over the course of any average life, good and bad things will happen in roughly equal measures. Focusing on the bad things amplifies them. Gives them far too much power. Years later, I could still be fixating on those hospital visits. No. That’s behind me. I choose instead to focus on the good things. Like this deer encounter. I put that whole sorry time in the memory bank and moved on. Always onward.

It’s a choice. Focusing on good things removes the power of the bad things. Gives you clarity. Freedom. Peace.

That isn’t to say bad things won’t happen. Or hurt. Or stay with you. They do, and will, and should. But the good things, however small, can see you through. Find the good where you can. Embrace. It will be your superpower.

And you will find there is little you cannot overcome, with a little optimism. There lies your strength. Use it.

Deer in a field
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