By Mike Redmond
The Hendricks County Flyer
Tue Mar 12, 2013, 03:57 PM EDT
Did you catch this gem in the news?
Older people who see the glass as half empty and who harbor low expectations for a satisfying future may be more likely to live longer, healthier lives than those who are more optimistic, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.
Great. Just as I was trying to renew my optimistic outlook on life, along comes to American Psychological Association to ruin it for me.
I KNEW something like this would happen.
Being an Upper Midwesterner, I am well-acquainted with pessimism and, now that I think about it, the therapeutic benefits therein. I am thinking of my Grandmother Redmond, a pessimist who spent most of her life waiting for things to get worse. And because she had a very broad idea of what could be meant by worse - one cloud on an otherwise sunny day would qualify - she was seldom disappointed. She lived into her 90s.
(To be fair, we also have to give a nod to genetics. Great-Grandma Carrick also lived into her 90s, but I don't know if she was optimistic, pessimistic, or indifferent. All I remember about her is that she once spit out her false teeth to show them to me at the breakfast table, and when she watched the news she thought Walter Cronkite could see her as well as she saw him.)
The pessimists-live-longer conclusion came from a study of 40,000 people, a good many of whom must have been in rotten moods, over 10 years. The scientists theorized that pessimists, fearing the worst was yet to come, tended to live more carefully and take better care of themselves than others.
That last part puzzles me. If you're a true pessimist, and you believe that life is lousy and destined to get worse, why would you bother trying to beat the odds to prolong it?
I'm not pessimistic as a rule, and that's weird because I am hard wired for it. The people who brought me up followed a code that said life was hard in order to make us stronger people, the better to withstand harsh reality. This was not an optimist's outlook, especially in the realm of child raising.
We kids learned that brutal winters and blistering summers were intended to build character. Backbreaking labor was to keep us humble. And church was where you went to be closer to God, so he wouldn't have to reach so far when he leaned down from Heaven to smack you upside the head.
Not a lot of gosharoonie in that kind of upbringing. But you know, it actually made an optimist out of me, because instead of bowing to the pressure to be miserable, I came to the conclusion that there had to be something better out there, and all I had to do was go find it. Pessimism seemed like the easy way out.
It takes perseverance to be optimistic, but that's what I chose and, except for a few depressing episodes here and there, I've pretty much stuck with it.
And now I find it could shorten my life? That the sour pickle lasts longest? It's unfair.
But the optimist in me finds an upside: You might live longer, because news like that will make a pessimist out of you.
© 2013 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
Word on the street and in the media is that it will be a really bad summer for mosquitoes. Or should I say, it will be a really bad summer for humans, because it will be a great year for thirsty mosquitoes.
June 14, 2013
As a Christian, I feel compelled to respond to a recent letter to the editor.
When Barack Obama announced his presidential campaign back in February 2007, he did it in front of the old Springfield, Ill., Statehouse in a speech full of references to Abraham Lincoln.
Ordinarily I don’t take requests, but a bunch of people have written to ask how I’m doing with my weight-loss surgery and I thought this might be the most efficient way to answer.
June 11, 2013
I am a grandmother who went to the Brownsburg graduation ceremony on June 7 and due to very poor planning on Brownsburg School’s part, I could not sit and watch my twin grandsons graduate in person. I was directed to an overflow room where I had to watch it on a TV screen and could not even take pictures.
What you are now hearing across the land is a collective whine. Blue-state Democrats are upset that Texas Gov. Rick Perry dares come and play in their sandboxes, and worse, threatens to “poach” jobs from their states.
The website Politico reports that Perry’s attempts to lure jobs to Texas are “infuriating to prominent Democrats around the country.”
I am the first to admit I am behind the times when it comes to technology. I remember way back in the olden days of the 1990s when I was actually ahead of the game. Now there are second-graders that are more tech savvy than me. I just decided to stop my forward technological progression a few years back.
June 7, 2013
College graduates facing a crushing debt – some more than $100,000 – is a very big and a very real problem.
But U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s recent proposal to deal with it won’t solve the problem. It is a cheap ploy to divert attention from the real problem.
It is appropriate that the worst scandal of the Obama administration — the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservatives — is a scandal of administrators and bureaucrats, of otherwise faceless people endowed with immense power over their fellow citizens and running free of serious oversight from elected officials.
Because I am a With-It type guy who is Down with all the latest Technostuff, I recently agreed to teach an online summer class for one of my local universities, which shall remain nameless but whose initials are IUPUI.
June 4, 2013
An NPR broadcast examines the question of how communities can better prepare for tornadoes like the one that struck Moore, Okla. on Monday. The broadcast features commentary from Michael Fitzgerald, who reported a five-part disaster series for the CNHI News Service.
May 22, 2013
Part I: Are We Prepared? | Part II: Disaster Dollars Part III: Lessons Learned | Part IV: Warning Signs Part V: The Big One
Trish Staine had just finished running 10 miles while training for a half-marathon when she started going into labor. The mother of three said she hadn't gained any weight or felt any fetal movement in the months before and had no idea she was pregnant. Is it possible for a woman not to know she's pregnant before she starts giving birth?
June 17, 2013
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