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Looking beyond your fence

It is interesting that I am finally getting back to the blog after more than a year, in that I am now enjoying my Summer holiday in Australia (where it is actually Winter), and I have a some time to sit and ponder. It seems I need to build some pondering time into my regular schedule when this break concludes.

But on to the ponder of the moment…

It is very easy to sit within the boundaries of the world that you inhabit and lament your lamentable bits and pieces, regret your regrettable bits and moan about all those things that need moaning about. It is only when you find yourself in the company of someone who lives in a different world and listen to their laments, moans and regrets that you can begin to get some perspective. But it is dangerous to visualise those significantly different worlds as Australia and Somalia, or Saudi Arabia and Canada, or Laos and Minnessota and presume that this is what I am referring to.

I am not referring to these dramatically different worlds when I talk about gaining important perspectives.

Think more about the world that you inhabit – your family, your job, your house, your community – and compare it to the world that your brother or sister inhabits, the world that your colleague inhabits, or the world of your next door neighbour. This is where the interesting perspective exists.

And the perspective is interesting because it enables you to compare your laments and moans with the laments and moans of someone else, who, from the casual observer, is to all intents and purposes, someone just like you.

But they are not. Or maybe they are. And maybe your laments and moans are the same. Or maybe they're not.

I'm not now going to say that your laments and moans are not important. I don't accept the point of view that goes something like, “Stop your whinging! You've got nothing to worry about compared to those starving children in Africa.” We all have something to worry about. Admittedly, nothing that I have to worry about compares to the worry that a father of a starving child would have, but mine are still worries none-the-less.

When I am invited in to the world of others, and get a hint of their perspective, that perspective helps me regulate how much I worry about things, how much I moan and groan to others about things and what I do to make things better.

And it was recently that I had that opportunity to see things from the perspective of someone else just like me. And then they were not just like me. And then they were.

And now, as I think about my laments and moans and regrets there is a new ingredient in the mix that is influencing my thoughts, what I might do, what decisions I might make. Some decisions I make may be different. Some may be the same.

Whatever happens, having spent some time looking beyond my back fence has reminded me that while the grass is green, how green it is is a matter of perspective.

 

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25 years in the blink of an eye

I recently had the great privilege of meeting up with a friend with whom I shared the travails of high school – 25 years ago! We had not seen each other since the last day of high school. We had not, until very recently, communicated with each other since that day, so rolling in to her driveway on a wintery July morning was a slightly daunting experience.

What do you say when someone asks you, “What have you been up to?” and they are referring to 25 years of being “up to” stuff? Where do you start? And more importantly, when do you finish?

Over the course of a few hours, a few glasses of wine and a lovely riverside picnic, we talked about careers, study, relationships, children, travel and the various doings of other high school friends, all the while marveling at how time flies and how steadfast some things truly are.

Due to our careers taking us in very different directions and living on different continents we may not see each other again for a while, but if we were able to step right back in to being friends after 25 years, then I don’t think that is going to be a problem.

 

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