Perspective Is a Funny Thing
Perspective is a funny thing.
Every time I go to my hometown to visit my family, I pass by this apartment building that, as a kid, would spark elaborate daydreams about life as a really cool, independent, adult. In my fantasies I was a confident career woman–an editor, a journalist, a private detective, a corporate executive in power suits and high heels–and I lived in an amazing apartment and drove a tiny car. In my childhood brain, living in an apartment was always the height of cool and sophistication. The funniest part of that whole scenario, is that the apartment building that sparked these internal stories was, and still is, an over-55 building. Not to say that you can’t live a super cool, glamorous life when you’re over 55, but that’s a much different perspective than my 10 year old self had.
In high school, I couldn’t wait to leave my hometown. I wanted to explore, have adventures, and get out of the Midwest mold. And then one day, hundreds of miles from my Midwest roots, I found myself appreciating things about my childhood home that I’d never appreciated before. Could I have learned to appreciate those things from inside the box, so to speak, or did I need to be on the outside looking in? It’s hard to say, but I think the perspective shift of both distance and time made a difference.
How many of you have gotten a haircut that looked great from the front, and not as great from a different angle? Have you ever painted a room that looked amazing when you were finished, and then you saw it in a different light (literally) and it looked nothing like what you wanted it to? When you’re 15, a $10 per hour job seems great, but it’s not so great when you’re 25 and have five times the bills to pay.
Perspective makes a difference.
I’ve been trying to remind myself of this more and more lately. When life feels stressful, or overwhelming; when a decision feels daunting; when I feel stuck to my armpits in messy, sticky, mucky life–perspective makes a difference. How can I shift my perspective just a little bit? How can I give myself time or distance? Where can I get the opinion of someone who is very different from me? What questions can I ask? How can I put a situation in a new light (metaphorically OR literally)?
Maybe you can try it too. The next time you feel overwhelmed or stuck or stressed or discouraged, ask yourself: how can I shift my perspective? Even just a little bit. You might be surprised at how much it helps. And if nothing else, at least you get a new view.
Amanda Waters is a former journalist-turned-librarian, and author of the novel You Again. She writes stories about relationships, and loves finding beauty in the ordinary.
She’s a midwestern girl currently living in Houston, Texas with her husband and their two children. When she’s not writing, you can find her outside, reading, drinking way too much coffee, or playing endless games of Skip-Bo and Exploding Kittens.
You can find links to her book, newsletter, or social media at www.amandawatersauthor.com