September 24, 2012

Perspective Changes Everything

Perspective culminates from life experience, our situations, and the lives of those around us, resulting in a very personal vantage point to the world and society.  What I am continually learning as I make my way through life is that my perspective is always changing, like every day, even.  Every time my opinion of a situation is challenged by a new experience, or I’m enlightened by someone’s own perspective or story, I am again reminded how my perspective is always on the brink of transition.  This is one of the greatest treasures in life: the notion that we are always ourselves, but that we are always constantly in the midst of change and growth through our various life experiences. 

These experiences change us, hopefully more for the better than for the worse, and regardless they are unique to each of us.   Given the same experience, our perceptions and reactions to them are all so different.  I remember taking a trip to New York City shortly after graduating from college.  At the time, I was on a tight budget because I had so much student-loan debt, and while I wanted to go to the city my only option was to do it on the cheap.  And that, friends, included stuffing canned food and Balance bars in my duffel to save money on sky-high, New York food prices and traveling the seven-plus hours each way by Greyhound bus, which happened to break down en route to the city. 

While recalling how damn heavy my luggage was from all cans of food I had packed now makes me laugh/roll my eyes, I also look upon that memory with fondness.  It was a hustle-and-flow kind of attitude where I was going to make the best of a situation with what little I had.  I may not have been able to have it all, but I realized that I could still have some of it, which consisted of a no-frills trip to New York (because at the time there was no city beyond New York) that still included the essentials for me at the time:  a visit to the Museum of Natural History, strolling around Central Park, hanging out in The Village, and getting a makeup session at Henri Bendel, complete with Chef Boyardee in the evening at the Hotel Belvedere (which sounds fancier than it actually was, but heck it had an en-suite kitchenette and was in the heart of the Theatre District).   

Having since paid off student-loan debt and spent a few years in the workforce, things no longer need to always be so budget-friendly.  I've also learned that there are other cities to have love affairs with.  And while life is a little more comfortable, I haven’t forgotten those days of buying 69-cent bread at Walmart and stuffing my luggage with canned food.  I've also realized that while my perspective has shifted, life may be more comfortable when it’s a little more cushy, but it isn’t necessarily any more fun.  Some of my best memories were when I had the least, because it’s not what you have that matters, it’s your disposition on life. 

Just like I haven’t forgotten the days well before graduating from college thinking that it was realistic for every little girl to grow up and become a stay-at-home mom (I admit that was a secret fantasy of mine) simply because that’s what my mom did, so too did I eventually learn that most moms have to work and still other moms choose to work.  My perspective was again challenged when I since came to the realization that becoming a parent is not necessarily your only option in life, even if you have a spouse and a house.

Perspective changes everything, constantly challenging what you think you know and believe, and so too does it make you realize how many options and possibilities there are in life.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring and how it will make you view life? 

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