My turn: Heedless optimism vital to survival

By Betty Williamson

PNT columnist

“Heedless, unwarranted optimism.”

I stumbled across this phrase in Empire of the Summer Moon, S.C. Gwynne’s gruesome history of the Comanches.

Gwynne uses the phrase in a negative way, describing the mindset of a military officer about to recklessly lead his troops into a massacre.

But as we turn our calendars to a new year, I would argue that “heedless, unwarranted optimism” is not only a positive attribute, but vital for survival.

Only with heedless, unwarranted optimism may I believe this will be the year my Dog of Questionable Value will learn her name, start to come when I call her, and manage to suppress her herding instincts so she will no longer corner house guests in our bathroom.

Only with heedless, unwarranted optimism may I believe the Portales road construction project will be finished in my lifetime.

Only with heedless, unwarranted optimism may I turn the soil in my garden plot and think this will be the year the spring and summer rains will come in time to nourish my home-grown vegetables.

On this second morning of 2014, I lift my slightly flat glass of sparkling apple cider in a toast to an unending supply of heedless, unwarranted optimism.

If your reserve runs low, no worries. I have more than enough for us all.


Betty Williamson may be the poster child for heedless, unwarranted optimism. You may reach her at

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