Now that this major victory has been won in Congress today, I realize that what I really had at the start of Obama's term was not hope, but optimism. Optimism is a luxury for those who can afford to lose. Hope inspires endurance.
This is time of year when we automatically wish people a "Happy New Year." But if we start to seriously think about what might happen in 2010, we may fall into despair -- unless of course we are optimists.
While the outlook for our country is getting brighter, the outlook for hundreds of thousands of individuals still seems bleak. What can you do if you're one of those folks whose job and/or company is gone forever?
According to academic "positive psychologists," and legions of unlicensed life coaches, optimism wards off common illnesses and extends longevity. It turns out to be less than salubrious when it comes to public health.
This is not news nor a headline. This is reality. And for the past 10 years (ages 14 to 24), I have faced the loss of young children and young adults after their own battles with cancer. Many of these individuals were very close to me.
Seven months into the Obama presidency the GOP's biggest, and perhaps only, success has been drowning the optimism from earlier in the year in a pool of red baiting, misinformation, Nazi comparisons and intimidation.
Americans remain an optimistic lot. Across all ages, races, sex, location and economic background, Americans are expressing a sense that their individual and collective action can and will move the world forward in a positive way.
Madison Avenue is beginning to look like swiss cheese, retail feels like a thing of the past and restaurants are eerily empty. However, there maybe a silver lining when it comes to psychological well-being.