Is the Glass Half Full?

Today’s topic was chosen by Emily F at UT Austin.

Do you see a cup as half empty or half full?

The correct answer is both. Rather, both answers are correct. It all depends on context. If the context is this year, 2010, I would truthfully have to say, half empty, after quite some serious thought.

At first I thought my answer would be half full. I’m almost always an optimistic person. Probably due to how sarcastic—err, I mean, how serious—I normally am. No, but seriously speaking, I think my sarcasm usually allows me to look at the funny little ironic aspects of even the most not-funny things.

But there is one thing that might be too important to be taken sarcastically, and that is life. (Then again, Oscar Wilde once said, “Life is too important to be taken seriously.”) Basically, you can’t take life too seriously or sarcastically. There needs to be a balance.

To answer whether the cup is half full or half empty, we need to consider what is happening to the amount of water in it: is it increasing or decreasing (or neither)? I think if we look at 2010 Year in Review’s around the web, we see that overall it has decreased this year:

  • CNN: The Stories that Mattered [link]
  • New York Times: The Year in Pictures [link]
  • Twitter: Top Trends [link]
  • etc.

From earthquakes to oil spills and armed conflicts to information ones, the news stories this year don’t seem too optimistic for us. On the other hand, there could have been worse. The oil spill was eventually capped, the Chilean miners were rescued, and the Koreas didn’t erupt into open war.

So I’m going back and forth on this question. Maybe it is half full after all.


Anyways, today is my birthday! It’s nice I guess to have a birthday that roughly coincides with the year. It makes it so that, when you look back on your year, you’re also looking back on the year holistically, nowadays globally. Regarding just my year, it has definitely been half full. 2010 contained my last semester of high school and first semester of college. This was a very intellectual year for me.

My blog also got quite some attention, twice. The first time was in March, when the US Census 2010 Win picture went viral. And the second was in November/December, when the same happened to the Planning vs. the Internet diagram.

On a personal level, it wasn’t a bad year at all. So my answer to the question is again half full.

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