The Dichotomy of Perspective

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There are a handful of special moments in life; moments that make us pause, bring respite to the everyday grind, and provide a fresh look at what exactly we are doing. We call this perspective, and every one of us has moments that bring about these feelings. Unfortunately moments of perspective are many times brought upon by tragedy or loss, but the ensuing focus and understanding of what’s really important is a positive experience. That’s the dichotomy of perspective, the yin and the yang. On one hand you have extreme sadness for something that has happened, but on the other you have a hardened resolve to live life like never before.

My grandmother died recently. I wrestled with not sharing anything about this personal experience, because I didn’t want to cheapen it by trying to package it and sell it. I am so put-off by those who seem to use deeply personal experiences to gain attention that I felt any form of writing about this would be me doing the very thing I loathe. It has been about a week now, and I have had a lot of time to reflect. I came to the conclusion that writing about this would not only be cathartic for me, but it might also provide an opportunity to encourage others. As of right now, at this very moment, I am personally and deeply experiencing perspective. Allow me to elaborate: I know what my grandmother did for a living, but I won’t remember that in the long run. I don’t have a clue how much money she made or how many friends she had, and while I have an idea of how much stuff she owned, that never mattered to me. The list I just ran off? Career, friends, money, and owning “things”. That’s a list of what most of us strive for every day; a list of what I spend most of my time on. And those are the things I remember the least about my grandmother.

What do I remember about her? I remember the smell of spaghetti, and not just any spaghetti. She had a special recipe that tasted a certain way. I remember sitting in her lap and watching old movies like A League of Their Own and Old Yeller (I always cried in both, it never failed). I remember building He-Man puzzles with her, my sister, and my cousin. I remember eating popcorn in bed and staying up late. Most of all I remember that every time I saw her she smiled, hugged me, and told me how proud she was of me. When I was a kid she was proud of how well I played baseball. Then she was proud of how I played guitar and how much time I invested in church, then graduating high school, graduating college, getting married, becoming a father, getting a master’s degree, and then writing a book. It didn’t hit me until I started writing this, but it didn’t matter what I did…my grandmother was proud of me – and she wanted me to know it.

This is one of those moments for me – one of those brief breaks in time where I have tremendous perspective. The hustle and bustle of everyday life will soon take over, but I wanted to write something that could encourage someone while I have perspective. Today, right now, put a little extra effort into the things that truly last. Your job, making money, meeting new friends, and owning things are all part of life, but those aren’t the parts that last. Tell your kids you love them, tell them how proud you are of them, and make some memories. Invest your time in your family. Your time is more valuable than anything you could ever buy them. Days are long, but years are short. It can’t wait; do it today.

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