Is optimism bad?

Despite my genetic influence to the contrary, I am an optimist. Being a planner and a dreamer requires a hopefulness and confidence about the future. What I have discovered over the last six months is that there is a huge risk to being an optimist——the bitter disappointment when it simply doesn’t work out.

We’ve had to postpone, cancel and forego a lot of plans lately, some small and some big. Of course, the biggest stressor was the cause of the changes. The suffering behind is far more distressing than any cancelled dinner engagement or vacation.

My point is in wondering if being an optimist, a planner, is a bad thing. I don’t know much about Buddhism. From what I understand of the Four Noble Truths is this: desire and ignorance lie at the root of suffering.

So is making a plan, looking forward to its fruition, a form of ‘desire’ and therefore another cause of suffering? I don’t have the answer, or even a direction where I can take this. But it seems that when you’re an optimist, you’re just set up for disappointment.

Mom Update

Mom is back in the hospital. She went to the emergency department this morning with serious abdominal pain, except this time it was further down her belly than what had hospitalized her just last week.

I had thought I would wait it out at home, see what happens. But as the hours ticked on with no updates and information, I decided to pack up and head back to Napa. Here I can speak with nurses and physicians directly, and keep track of what is going on. Additionally, I was concerned they may order emergency surgery and I wouldn’t have an opportunity to see her beforehand.

The diagnosis du jour, after the hospitalist/internist saw her, is colitis. The X-ray did not show any obvious obstruction, similar to the X-ray she had on Monday. So they are starting her on antibiotics, holding off any food or liquids by mouth and seeing what happens.

Basically we have once again spun the diagnosis roulette wheel.

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