Is Life Half Full Or Half Empty?


When we look at a half full glass, we can think inside the box and see the glass either half full, or half empty.  However, the truth is, it is always full.  One half air and one half fluid.

Both Pessimists and Optimists will only see the fluid.  Pessimists will see half the glass empty of that liquid, while Optimists will see it as half full.  It takes a Realist to see what neither the Pessimist nor, the Optimist can see…the element that is invisible yet, fills the other half of the glass, making it full, all of the time.

No matter what level the liquid in that glass is, it cannot be empty….unless, of course, one were to place it in a vacuum.

Since none of us live in a vacuum, that scenario is not applicable were we to apply the half full, half empty glass as a metaphor for our lives. Though this type of analogy could become complicated if we wanted it to, it really needn’t be.

Our lives are like a glass.  The contents of that glass are all that have happened, are happening and ever will happen to us in our lives.  The liquid in that glass comprises our experiences, both good and bad, past, present and future.  The air, are all of the occurances that we scarcely notice or count as part of our lives and yet they are.  They are the other half of our life’s experiences.

Most of us have a pretty good idea of how much good and how much bad we have had in our lives. The Pessimist or The Optimist will look only upon the liquid and, will deem it as good or as bad, sad or happy, hard or easy, bitter or sweet.  The Realist will look at not only the liquid but, also the air that comprises the rest of the contents of that glass and deem it positive, negative and neutral, all mixed together.

While most of us will concentrate on either the negative or the positive, depending upon our thinking patterns, how much of our lives go unnoticed and are simply neutral events with neither a positive nor, a negative spin but, still part of our lives?

We can all look back or forward to events that have happened, are  happening or we’re waiting to happen, attaching good or bad labels to them.  We can look at a wedding, a birth, an engagement, a new job, a pay raise, a party, a vacation, a dinner out and millions of other events as positive events.  Equally, we can look back at or anticipate a death, a job loss, a fight or argument and a plethora of other things that we can deem as negative.  All of these are consciously remembered and put into our memories, recorded in permanent markers as parts of our lives that make up the liquid that is in our glass of life.

However, there are other things that comprise the contents of the glass that we call, Life.

We have the moments that we do not record in indelable memories and therefore, will subconsciously dismiss them as being part of that liquid.  It is these moments which are the air in that glass.  The air is every bit as important to the composition of our lives as the liquid contents.

These are usually the ordinary moments.  They are the ones in which we do not deem them as good or bad.  They just are.

These “just are” moments are the ones in which we’re sitting, watching television, listening to music, doing our taxes, cleaning our washrooms and floors, doing dishes, taking a shower, taking a nap, walking to the store, buying groceries, getting our hair cut, brushing our teeth and just about every mundane thing that we all have to do in a day or on a regular basis.  They are the “ordinary moments”.  The moments that make up the greatest percentage of our time.  Yet, we dismiss them as parts of our lives because they are neither good nor, bad.  They are..ordinary.

Why do we not consider those moments part of the liquid in our glasses?  Why does that half of the glass remain thought of as empty?

We don’t normally think of air.  It is invisible and all around us.  However, it is one of the most important things that we can have.  Without it, we’d have no life and therefore, no glass and no liquid to put in it.  Yet, we don’t think about it.  We simply breathe it in and out automatically.

The same holds true of the neutral or ordinary in our lives.  We take those moments for granted and we dismiss them, not attaching ourselves to them and therefore, not remembering them.  We will only file those moments as something to remember if they involve some sort of out of the oridnary pain or pleasure whilst doing them.  Yet, these events, by far, make up the majority of our lives.  They are our “air”.

Great events and horrendous events are recorded in our minds because we mark them by the emotions that they give us and leave us with.  Neutral events aren’t recorded because we rarely attach emotion to them but, need it be that way?

How can we make the “air” more memorable and therefore, count it as important parts of our lives?

When we are sitting watching television, we can take note of the wonder of being able to take the time to watch it or, the beauty of watching it with our loved ones or pets.  We can enjoy the comfort of our chairs or sofas.

As we’re washing the dishes, or taking a shower, we can take more notice of the feel of the soap and the warmth of the water upon our skin and realize how lucky we are to have hot, running water when there are people in the world who don’t have any water to drink or wash in.

Pushing our carts around a grocery store, we can be thankful for the ability to walk and push that cart or, be grateful that we have the money to pick up those groceries to fill our stomachs every day.  We can listen to the musak being piped throughout the store.  Ever notice it?  Have you listened to the music that plays in most major stores?  Didn’t know it existed?  Try listening the next time you go in.

Even the most mundane and rather dreary of tasks, like cleaning our toilets or vacuuming (unless you’re clean obsessed and get relief and joy from cleaning) can become meaningful when we think about the healthy state that we’re putting ourselves and our loved ones in by doing it.  Still not happy with that idea?  Put on some well loved music while you’re doing it and sing along with it, dance around while you’re mopping the floors or cleaning out your workbench or garage.  It then becomes a happier experience.

Talk to your hairstylist the next time you’re getting your hair cut.  Listen to what she or he has to say.  Strike up a conversation and treat him or her like a person you’re wanting to know, even if it’s only for those few minutes or that one time.  It’s surprising what we pick up from others in even the most ordinary of conversations.

Watch the people around you while you wait for the bus or subway.  Be in the moment, fully aware of those around you.  It’s guaranteed that something that someone does, will be memorable or strike a memory within you somehow.

Even taking a nap can become a moment that can be made into a lovely time.  Think about the comfort of the couch or chair or even your head on your arm on your desk and how good it feels to allow your eyes to close and drift off into sleep.  It’s a moment of letting go.  That can be a wonderful feeling if you allow yourself to think about it and attach emotion to it through conscious thought.

Most of our day is taken up with the oridnary air.  Our lives are not all liquid but, we can turn the air into liquid if we attach conscious thinking to everything that we do in our lives.

By attaching consciousness to everything that we do in a positive way, our glasses of life will always be full.  Not half full, but truly full.

Published by ponderinglifetoo

I'm a wife, mother, artist, photographer and bookkeeper. I love writing out my thoughts in journals but, am finding my way to sharing these with others now.

3 thoughts on “Is Life Half Full Or Half Empty?

  1. Hi I really enjoyed this blog, I heard about the glass 1/2 empty 1/2 full, went i went to see a lung transplant surgon, the 1/2 empty was the negitve part of the surgery, the 1/2 full was the postive out of the surgery, Then there was me the optimistic!! Who is happy with life and all that i have in my life,b/c it can be so much more worse. Try to see things as they are, I never understood why a person dwells on things they dont have ,how can u miss what you never had :))


    1. The good, the bad and the neutral are all parts of our lives. We have to have the negative to appreciate the positive but, it doesn’t mean that we have to live in the negative. Even clouds have silver linings if we let them. 🙂


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