During my word searches at work, I came across meliorist, one who practices meliorism, which is, according to Wikitionary:
The view or doctrine that the world is neither entirely bad nor entirely good, and can be improved through human effort. Understood as an intermediate outlook, between optimism and pessimism.
And I realized: that’s me. Or at least, that’s who I want to be.
I’m definitely not an optimist. I don’t go around thinking everything is great and will be great. I’m not like my ex who thought that NOT thinking everything was going to be great would somehow make things go badly.
But I also don’t go around thinking everything is awful. I mean, I definitely worry that things might go badly, but I don’t think that makes me a pessimist. And worrying is something I’m trying to quit these days.
I’ve always thought of myself as a realist with a dash of Zen – the glass isn’t full or empty, it just is. But I like the idea of doing what I can do improve things – whether it’s the world, my life, my career, or my relationships. To me it’s not thinking about how things will turn out, good or bad – it’s not thinking about how things will turn out at all – but about focusing on my efforts, and doing what I can.
My writing for instance. I rarely let myself think, I’m never going to be successful, or I’m going to be a tremendous success. (Okay, sometimes I do let myself fantasize the latter.) I just do my thing. I look at how I’m doing and think, How can I do better?
I love writing for The Frisky and The Nervous Breakdown. LOVE IT. But I do want to diversify my clips, if only to get out of my comfort zone. So I’m looking through this great database of literary journals and seeing where I can submit. I also plan to submit to other national publications, such as The New York Times (yeah, I won’t hold my breath – okay, that’s the pessimist in me) and Salon.
To me meliorisim means, “Keep trying.” Don’t waste time judging how the world is, good or bad. Just do.
You can totally write for Salon. But you know, I like your writing :)