“Seeing things through rose-colored glasses” is an idiomatic expression meaning having an optimistic perception or opinion about something or someone. It’s essentially possessing a highly positive and sometimes unrealistic attitude.
When Malcolm was younger, he used to see the world through rose-colored glasses. He always tried to see the best in people, to make the most out of situations, and to remain positive and optimistic. He wasn’t a total Pollyanna, but he was kind of naïve.
As Malcolm grew older, he became more realistic. He came to understand through first hand experience that people did not always have good intentions and weren’t always altruistic. He would find himself in situations where the outcomes weren’t always positive.
Once Malcolm became a middle aged man, he lost much of his youthful optimism and naïveté to pragmatism. And then as people disappointed him, his pragmatism turned into skepticism. And lately, his skepticism has turned into cynicism.
Malcolm no longer sees the world through rose-colored glasses. In fact, his views of the world have become pretty dark of late. The color Malcolm is seeing most these days is red — dark, dark red.
And that makes the world appear to be kinda bleak to to Malcolm.