Optimistic Realism


2 mins


We’re entering day two of Colorado’s Stay at Home executive order. This is part of the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

This post is about maintaining optimism while also being bluntly realistic about the situation.

People have died and will continue to die. Old, young, sick and well. Rich, middle class and poor. This virus - like any virus - is non-discriminating.

As I type this, I’m at my same home office desk where I’ve written a book (and parts of two others) and developed multiple online services. This is where I invented hosted source control. This office has been the locale, if not direct inspiration, of virtually all my creative work over the past 20 years.

I recently told a friend who runs a venture fund:

i’m an optimist at heart but my public face is typically more pragmatic. i’ve been paid to look for, find, document + fix structural flaws in software eng for 25 yrs. it’s how i think.

That’s it in a nutshell. I am optimistic. We will emerge from this pandemic. Our collective psyche will have been tested, no doubt. That’s the optimist in me.

And then the realist walks in, looks around and says

Things are gonna be fucked up a long time. Nothing will be the same.

Everything’s on hold awaiting the clarity that some as-yet-undefined signal of this being over may - may - bring.

The optimist in me is eager to reach that. I’ll hop on the moto and go bust out some triples.

The realist in me knows that the places I love to visit today - the little pizza place, the tap room or the new rider-centric restaurant outside town that opened less than a week ago - probably won’t survive.

- jbminn