Perspective

This month I’d like to share with you a life-changing revelation that hits me every year around my birthday. It started when I turned forty. Before that, every time I gained a year, I’d decide that I was going to start a “new life” the following day, which would generally mean I was intending to start a regular workout and skin routine, stop wasting time, and fold my clothes instead of cramming them into the drawers. Then I’d wake up with a hangover and a fleeting resolve to start the new things the following day, after I finished binge-watching Felicity

But everything was different when I turned forty. I had an awakening, of sorts. As I was reeling from the shock of a new decade – one that was going to be dumping me off at “middle age” - I realized that I was being gifted with what might be the most valuable jewel of wisdom a person can possess. Perspective. The ability to use different lenses to assess what matters in your life. At least, that’s how it felt to me. How did I know I’d been given this magical ability? Because for the first time since I turned twenty-one, I didn’t think an entire life overhaul was in order. This time, as I reflected on things that I could do better, my thoughts were drawn to the precious things in my life I felt gratitude for. They were so clear, and they didn’t need any fixing. Just more of my attention. A zoom in. It seems obvious, but that little shift of focus, from what needed improvement to what brought me joy, changed everything. Especially me. And now, as I wade deeper into my forties, (for the record it’s getting deep. I just reached neck level and it’s becoming hard to breathe), this gift of perspective becomes clearer for me with each passing year. Zoom in. Zoom out.

When I’m sitting on the couch and one of my daughters comes to lay beside me, resting her head on my shoulder, I let everything around me become blurry. 

Teenagers are elusive and moments like these become more and more rare by the day. I don’t hear the dog barking or the oven-timer beeping. I feel her hair under my fingertips. I listen to my breath blend with hers, like a harmony. I feel the weight of her precious body warming mine and I know it won’t always be there and I treasure…Every…Second. Perspective

Here’s the flip side. You’ve been hurt. 

By words or actions or betrayal. I know this one’s more difficult, but when you’re able, zoom out. Picture that person or incident as a tiny black speck on a huge, beautiful vista of images, because in the grand scheme of your life, it is. Let it not matter as much. Every time it slips into your mental dm’s, send it on its way. Is this forgiveness? Maybe. Wisdom? Absolutely. 

We don’t get to control much in this life, but I promise you, you have all the power over what you decide is important. Shift your lens to the things that bring you joy. The moments where you’re with the people who adore you and you them and you get to be your complete, authentic self. No apologies required. When you’re laughing so hard that gin comes out of your nose. Seeing the silhouette of your partner, standing at the window when you arrive home. The smell of brownies baking in the oven. The feel of smooth pine needles under your bike tire. The list is endless, and you get to pick over and over again. Choose the good stuff.