“All that we are is the result of what we have thought.”
As I get older, I realize how much perspective matters. As we move through life and accumulate
cellulite experiences, we are shaped by what we’ve lived through, whom we meet, where we work and with whom, our friends and neighbors, and with whom we choose to have relationships. This is obvious, but when we think of things that might not have happened and how differently our lives would be now, it gives me pause. Had I not gone to Brazil as a 17 year old, I’d never have met the people I now call family in Sao Paulo. Had I not met my friend Terry as college freshmen, my son would never have had the opportunity to visit him in Thailand this month. Had I not been blessed (?) with “bucked teeth,” I’d never have become a dental hygienist. Photos will not be shown. You’re welcome.
It drives home the point that we are the product of what we’ve seen and experienced, and how that inevitably shapes thought.
We all aren’t either right or wrong, and it isn’t about being one or the other; we simply see things differently based on life experience. This year in particular, especially with a new administration, if we are to find common ground, we must find a way to “see the other side.” We don’t have to agree, but it seems crucial more now than ever to try to understand opposing views. (Having said that, this post is not about the new administration; political or nasty comments will not be approved).
We all understand the idea of perspective. But, it’s worth taking a second to look at a few visuals to bring the idea home. For each picture below, tell me what you see:
Here’s what I see.
I see our seven-month-old kitten, now happy, healthy and thriving. Others may see a spoiled cat (on a human’s bed, no less!). He was born under our house. When we caught Otis in August, he was underweight, his body temp was too low, his left eye was nearly swollen shut, and he was starving. It’s likely that had we not caught him, he wouldn’t have made it through our winter.
Melted candles in a box, you say? Technically, you’d be right. This was a gift to me from my son and his wife on Christmas morning, left over candles from their 09′ wedding. Stored in our upper attic (hence the melt), it is a gift we’ve passed back and forth. They lived in Virginia until late ’14–when their stuff was cleared out–and I had forgotten until Christmas. Imagine my delight (and plan for the future)!
Some may see a snow scene or maybe winter itself. Some may see wisteria vines, wrapped and twisted around the swing set supports. Others may see snow-laden leaves on the rhodie in back. I see three empty chairs. The bottoms of those for whom this was built no longer sit or play here. I refuse to tear it down in hopes that one day their children will find the same joy their parents did when swinging high to the sky.
Some may see water spots, a person, a purple phone, or maybe a woman playing in the snow and rain, trying to capture a unique shot. I see a woman with gray hair. Because that’s a sign of aging, and because it’s my hair, I feel sad. Outside it is far more pronounced than inside; our bathroom has no windows. I scare myself when I see the “real” me, a reminder that our time is limited.
Some may see a simple box, or a green covered box. That would be correct. It’s also the toy box our grandfather made for my sister and me when we were very young. Red corduroy was the original top cover, later someone changed it to green. For years it sat in my daughter’s closet. Instead of adding to the burn pile, I decided to make use of it. It now sits under the cutting table in my sewing room/office, filled with batting. Grandpa would smile if he knew.
Beach? Girl? Dog? Old photo? Yes. Well. This would be me many years ago at Manzanita Beach with our family dog. I was 20 or 21. I didn’t always have cellulite.
Perhaps the best image I’ve seen to bring home the relevance and importance of “perspective” is the following:
May we all consider perspectives other than our own as we navigate our way into 2017. May we all be open to dialog, even uncomfortable dialog, and speak with informed, intelligent conversation in hopes we learn from one another. May you never succeed in talking me into posting photos of my pre-orthodontically corrected teeth…