By Scherryl Antoniadis

My dear friend Amanda and I meet almost every Friday to have a leisurely chick’s luncheon, or dinner, depending on our schedules…where we do eat, but what we eat is of no importance to us.  The real reason for our get-togethers is to enjoy a few, very animated, hours of talking and laughing.  More often than not, we also manage to squeeze in some shopping or errands before parting ways.

Amanda and I have been friends for several years now, having been introduced to each other by her Aunt Marj.  Marj and I live on the same small island about twenty minutes from San Francisco and we commuted to and from work on the same ferry boat. Shortly after Marj and I became friends, Amanda landed a job in the City and she began taking the ferry with us.

Our commute soon became one of the highlights of our day.  While many of our fellow passengers were content to spend their voyage reading, working on laptops, or grabbing a quick coffee or glass of wine, our table of rabble-rousers would be regaling each other with stories of psycho bosses, dates from hell, and misadventures of our youth.  Our table was always the rowdiest on the boat and…of course, we took great pride in that.

The more I got to know Amanda, the more I liked her.  I found her to be smart, engaging, and very bubbly — quite like a flute of champagne!  I also soon discovered that her external beauty is surpassed only by her internal beauty; turns out she is one of the kindest and most thoughtful people that I have ever known.  She is also an extremely responsible and hardworking young woman.  But the trait that I most admire about Amanda is her sanguine disposition and outlook on life.

SANGUINE:  an adjective meaning optimistic; enthusiastic; upbeat; spirited; hopeful; confident

Amanda did not have an “Ozzie and Harriet” kind of upbringing, to say the least.  Now we all know that life is not fair, and that each of us is going to face obstacles and disappointment at some point, but it seems to me that Amanda has had more than her share in her young life.  Considering the turmoil of her early years, she could have easily become jaded.  But — with a big assist from her Aunt Marj, she has learned to cope with life’s ups and downs through determination and positive thinking.

I am very proud of Amanda.  She is working hard to put herself through school while holding down a full-time job, and still managing to spend quality time (aka “partying”) with her family and friends.  But it’s her bright outlook on things that make her special. Amanda always has a smile on her face.  She is always the first to reach out to anyone needing comfort or encouragement, assuring them that things will get better.

When Amanda and I started hanging out together I thought I could be a mentor to her; it seemed logical considering our age difference.  (As we became closer, I told her that she reminded me of my niece, she responded by telling me that I reminded her of her grandma — ouch!)  In retrospect however, I feel that I have learned as much from Amanda as she has learned from me.  And, without a doubt, the most important thing that she has taught me was to never stop “making lemonade” when the going gets tough.

While I was composing this article, I started to search for other folks who share/shared Amanda’s sanguine attitude about the world around us.  Below are quotes from just a few of the many that I found.

Cassandra Clare – author   “As long as there was coffee in the world, how bad could things be?”

Muhammad Ali – boxer, social activist   “If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.”

Mahatma Gandhi – statesman, philosopher  “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

Dr. Seuss – writer, poet, cartoonist   “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

Betty Reese – officer, pilot   “If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in the dark with a mosquito.”

Winston Churchill – statesman, politician   “For myself, I am an optimist — it does not seem to be much use being anything else.”

Anne Frank – Holocaust victim, famed diarist   “Think of all the beauty that’s still left in, and around you and be happy.”

Alphonse Karr – critic, journalist, novelist   “Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.”

Montaigne – writer   “My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened.”

Darynda Jones – author   “I like to see the glass as half full, hopefully of Jack Daniels.”

George Jean Nathan – drama critic, editor   “An optimist is a fellow who believes a housefly is looking for a way to get out.”

W. C. Fields – actor, comedian, author   “Start off everyday with a smile and get it over with.”

Okay, that last one may not be the best example of a positive outlook, but you get the idea.

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