1 EAGLETON NOTES: Cup Half Full and 40 Miles

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Saturday, 28 December 2019

Cup Half Full and 40 Miles

I tend to look at everything in a positive way. Probably because I've been one of life's fortunate people in that so far I've woken up every morning and gone to bed every evening for the last 27,601 days. That's a lot of days and even more when you realise that it's 39,745,440 minutes minus what's left of today plus the number I lived on the day I was born.

I'd love to know what makes us essentially positive or essentially negative. Nietzsche and Voltaire aside (they only had the raw material to speculate about) some of us are definitely glass half full and some are glass half empty. I've always been the essential optimist even when I've faced the terrible things in my life. There is always someone who has had a worse experience who has come through to be a role model. I think it's what has carried me through. 

It's not, however, something of which to be proud or to boast about. It is simply a fact of who you are. I'm not even convinced that it's nurture although I'm sure that helps to mould our nature. My Mum was the eternal optimist but my Dad was a more cautious pessimist (at least that's how I perceived it). 

What's all this about? Well I was actually thinking about something so mundane and trivial that it made me think about the remarks I'd heard today about the winter and the weather (we're Brits so that's a mighty important topic and I live on an Island so it's a matter of ferries and to travel or not to travel and is quite a real part of life.).

My first thought is that the nights are now getting shorter but the person to whom I was talking said that it was a long time to the longer days and we still had the full winter to contend with. She pointed out that the weather today was atrocious. So it was. However Christmas Day was cloudless blue skies from start to finish. Ah yes she said "That brought the icy conditions". C'est la vie.

On Christmas Eve I took some photos of the mainland. To give you an idea of perspective Canisp in the first photo is 40 miles from where I was standing.

Canisp and Suilven




The township in which I live surrounded by nothing but moor. It looks better in the sun.

43 comments:

  1. With views like that how could you not be optimistic?

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  2. Your views are absolutely stunning. Reason enough to stretch those minutes even longer.

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  3. Some people are, as you suggest, born pessimists, others not so. I have little time for the former and do not choose to mix with them if I can help it.

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    1. The problem, Rachel, is that we often have little or no choice.

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    2. I disgree. I find it easy enough to keep clear of known pessimists and those I encounter for the first time I avoid in the future. If in a group and the pessimists dominate then I will not remain in that group preferring to distance myself and leave them to their bleak views on everything, and wallowing in their own negativity.

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  4. Wow! Such dramatic vistas. You really can see for miles where you are ... Those that perpetually focus on the negative can be so tiring to be around. My natural response is to try to counterbalance the negativity with some more buoyant perspectives but it becomes a rather draining affair. Easier perhaps to shrug them off with a "C'est la vie" or walk away.

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    1. Pipistrello, from the hill behind my house on a clear day I can see from Skye and the Ardnamurchan Peninsula in the South to Cape Wrath in the North.

      Do you find that more buoyant perspectives as well as being draining often elicit an unfavourable response?

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    2. Typically, yes, which makes it so fatiguing to try to keep the positive spin in play. I never really expect that I'm going to change someone's perspective by offering up some alternative view, so I don't know why I do it. It's a reflexive thing, I expect, as I attempt to smooth troubled waters. Which makes me just as annoying for the glass half-empty types!

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  5. I know people like that! No matter how many positive/nice/helpful observations you make, they will ALWAYS come back with a negative - yet, they seem to be happy people in themselves, which I always find a bit puzzling.

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    1. Margaret, some pessimists I know are very happy with their lives and what they call a 'realistic' approach to life. Peculiar.

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  6. You are so right about being positive about life. I sometimes have to wonder what people are complaining about. Great scenery there.

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    1. I think it's inbuilt Red. If I were a pessimist I'd have been dead long ago.

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  7. Those photos are just breathtaking. Although I've seen the beauty of where you live for myself, it still astounds me. I think positivity is a happy combination of nature and nurture. Keep counting those minutes, Graham, and I hope you enjoy nearly all of them. (I might be an optimist but I'm also realistic!) Happy New Year!

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    1. Pauline, an optimistic realist is the best of all worlds.

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  8. It's all amazingly beautiful. I've said it before, but if I lived where you do, I'd invest in a few Lobster Pots, and live off Crab and Lobster.

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    1. Cro, that used to me the predominant way of life but that changing. Having said that there are boats out most days in the bay below me with their crab and lobster creels.

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  9. Superb views but only available twice a year. Not to worry twice is better than non at all.

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    1. Oops.Sorry, Adrian. I forgot to reply whilst trying to think of a witty response. I couldn't. But you have exaggerated: I can see it at least twice a month.....usually.

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  10. Your views are fantastic! It looks Alpine - not quite how in my mind I imagine Scotland.
    It has turned colder here yesterday after what has been rather mikd and wet weather here over Christmas.
    I like timthinkmof myself as a mostly balanced and realistic person with a strong 'cup half full' tendency. Eternal pessimists can be quite tiring to be around.

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    1. That's how I think of you, Meike. And, yes, they can be.

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    2. Goodness, how many typos are there in my comment!! That's when I get when I am typing on the ipad without proper light. I apologise!

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  11. You sure live in an isolated place but with beautiful surroundings and peace and quiet by the looks. I'm glad to hear you are an optimist. I'm a bit of both, sometimes optimistic and sometimes pessimistic. My SIL, who is an actor is very optimistic. My daughter finds that comforting. She is like me.

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    1. Diane, it's quiet and peaceful when the gales are not blowing. Unfortunately they blow a lot.

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  12. You are right: You can't choose where you are on the spectrum of boundless optimism, tempered realism, and down-in-the-mouth pessimism. And, as you say, it's nothing to be proud of. What I am, however, is very glad that I err(!) on the sunny side of life. There is an art to putting a positive spin onto even the darkest hour. It's not even to make yourself or others feel "better" over what, occasionally, can only be called a shit situation. I do have a way, and some in my vicinity do find it annoying, of seeing the comical even in the tragic.

    As to glasses half full/half empty. Nah. Don't like that analogy at all. Facts are facts - even for eternal optimists. So when my glass is half empty it's half empty even if, arguably, it's still half full. Because I expect my glass to be full to the brim I am not shy to top up as I go down. Not, of course, that that does one's reputation any good.

    Anyway, before I forget, Graham, and off topic which I hope is ok with you: I do appreciate the time you took to enter dialogue over at YP's the other day. The only reason I didn't continue in reply because I have had many rebukes from bloggers when I and other commentators get a little expansive in the exchange (one of the more childish accusations of "taking over someone else's blog"). I don't know YP that well (yet) so didn't want to test his patience - though I expect he is more tolerant than many. Anyway, all that was a roundabout way of saying that it's great to read comments (in this case yours) which are more than vacuous soundbites.

    U

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    1. That's what threads are for.

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    2. I think, Ursula, that the majority of my German friends have a much more straightforward and more literal approach to language whereas native English speakers can be proverbial and use metaphors, similes and idioms to excess. Or perhaps most of my friends are too polite to use them when a German or French one of any of the above could, if translated literally, appear complete nonsense.

      On the subject of dialogue I'm very happy to have it on my blog and to take part on others. I tend to avoid controversial subjects though. I'm prepared to make an argument and state my view (or, often an opposing view even if I don't hold it which is no doubt due in part at least to my professional training). However if it gets acrimonious I'm usually the first to back away from the argument

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  13. Christmas Day was stunning, I was disappointed we couldn't go out for a walk to enjoy it fully, but we still had a fantastic day. It was a shame Boxing Day was so miserable, but saying that it was probably a benefit as it meant we had a very relaxing day! Having joined a walking group that basically walks no matter what the weather, really makes you appreciate your surroundings. It doesn't matter how bad it has been weather wise (or mud or flood!) the countryside always gives you something different to look at.

    Stunning views from where you were standing and also of your village. Always changing so always something different to notice. I have always been an optimist until the last 10 years when it has been more of a struggle to be optimistic amidst a lot of pain, but I am still optimistic I will eventually come out the other side ;)

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    1. Serenata, I do like the fact that you have so much variety of countryside in which to walk. Mine is moor, shore or the woods in the Castle Grounds. Pain is very debilitating. I do hope that it lessens this coming year.

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  14. Looking for the positive and sharing that positive with other people who are not so positive. I think that might be what you do on your blog without even knowing it.
    For myself, I am a miserable old grouch but I hide it by being around cheery people!

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    1. Somehow, Kay, anyone who can write blog posts like you do can't be a miserable grouch (I know you're not old). Anyway I suppose one can be cheery or miserable whether on is an optimist or a pessimist.

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  15. Gorgeous awe inspiring photos
    May your New Year be one of Happiness and Good Health!

    I've heard (and been told) I'm a pessimist. I don't believe them. Being depressed doesn't always annihilate hope.

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    1. Thank you, Maywyn. I am sure that you can be either an optimist or a pessimist and suffer from depression just as you can suffer from any other illness. Oddly enough I think that I have blogged along similar lines at some stage. I must see if I can find it.

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  16. Together, Canisp and Suilven look like a giant woman lying down upon the shore. I wish she had put a bra on!

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  17. Weather will always be what it is...do what it wants to do...whether or not!

    Sometimes I'm a glass half full...other times I'm a glass half empty...sometimes I'm a glass empty...other times, I'm a glass full. It keeps me on my toes...as it does others! :)

    My best wishes to you for 2020, Graham...I hope the new year as it advances treats you kindly. Take good care. Great photos, by the way! :)

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    1. Absolutely true Lee about the weather. The only time I bother is when I need to leave the Island. It can be a problem if the wind is stormy and the ferry is cancelled. So you have a varied outlook on life. Good for you. And have a really interesting 2020.

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  18. It's actually a beautiful view you have there, we have mountains here but we don't get snow.

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    1. Amy, there's plenty of snow on the mainland during the winter. I'm just hoping there will be none on the roads when I have to drive down to Glasgow on Saturday.

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  19. Somehow managed to miss this post - the email notification had gone to the spam inbox again (even though I keep telling it not to!) Lovely views, and I'm glad that you at least got one sunny Christmas day... Here we saw the sun for a bit on New Year's Eve, but alas I had too much to do that day to be out much...

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