Wednesday, October 26, 2011

31 for 21: Perspective--Like a broken record

It’s all about perspective.

It seems like I’ve said it 1000 times in the last few years, probably almost 6 years if I’m judging by the circumstances that I think brought me the most real.life.perspective.

But lately it sure seems like I’ve been saying or at least thinking it more frequently.

I don’t like having a job that eats up evenings and many weekends. But I’m glad that I was able to find one when I needed to and that I do actually enjoy working there. It’s all about perspective.

$300 is just not a lot of money to feed four people completely for an entire month. But I’m thankful that we’re able to do it. And many people would feel ecstatic about having that much money to spend on food and necessities. It’s all about perspective.

I’ve been really missing the community element lately, having a core group of friends whose lives intersect with ours at several levels like we have had in previous eras in our married life.  We have friends, good friends. But we do miss the closeness and shared values and family and spiritual goals like we’ve had before. And we miss being able to hang out with friends casually and often. And yet—we now have our families close.  We see them often and they’ve become kind of like our core friends. It is different, but it is nice at the same time.  This is just the season we’re in. It’s all about perspective.

My daughter is delayed.  She has Down syndrome. She doesn’t know how to chew at this stage (though she’s getting better and that’s NOT a “DS thing” by the way).  She needs help to do most things still, even at almost 5.  BUT—she is the brightest light in my day, the go-to girl for a great hug, a big laugh, and a sweet spirit.  She makes hardly any mess at meals, which I count a perk!  And she has introduced us to an entire world, including some of the most amazing people, therapists, and opportunities, that we would never have known.  It’s all about perspective.

So today after I cleaned a house this morning as a side job, then returned home and managed to find the energy to tackle mine, I paused a bit as I surveyed my freshly-ordered kitchen with pride.

I was surprised that I was proud.  This is not the picture of my ideal kitchen. It would include totally clear counters and matching appliances, just for starters.  MUCH less on the fridge, both on top and on the front.  And the clutter on the chairs…lunch bags and bibs, boosters that don’t match. Wallpaper border on the wall that I swore would be gone the minute we bought the house, yet it remains, in places, 3 years later. All these things are not part of my “ideal” picture, something that I would expect to see before I’d feel pride in my kitchen. (I talked about my “lowered expectations” in my kitchen a few months ago.)

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What I realized as I stopped to look around this evening is this… I’m proud because this kitchen speaks to so many things about my life right now that are GOOD.  The boosters and bibs are for two healthy girls.  The fact the table is even there and being used is a huge deal in itself.  The lunch bag marks M’s job that he likes. A lot. And that’s more important than I can explain.  I have lovely flowers on my table that my husband sent me for my birthday. And they’re lasting a long time, which is so nice.

The clutter on the counters marks not only an abundance of provisions for our family, but also the time I spend doing other things.  I’m not so bent on getting to the place of pristine counters that I neglect reading the 23rd book of the day to the girls, or stopping to go outside and crunch leaves for a while with them, or going to a playgroup to meet and encourage other moms who are following behind us on this DS journey.  The stuff on the fridge represents everything from family friends’ pictures to scriptures that encourage me, to art the girls have done, to contact information for physicians we like and businesses that have treated us well.  There are notes about school events, our very active community group for DS, and coupons that will save me money.

Is there a more organized way to do it? Sure.  I wish everything had a handy home and it was out of sight. I’d love to have twice as many cabinets if not even more than that.  But we live in a small house. The sum of these two pictures is about 1/4 of the whole thing, not counting the basement.  To say space is limited is a serious understatement.

But even in that, the smallness of my house, which I have struggled with frequently over the past 3 years, I can now see the benefit.  Less to clean. Less room to store junk we don’t need.  Forced purging opportunities show up often. And goodness… we HAVE a house. We live with warmth on cold days and have comfy places to sit and sleep.

It’s all about perspective.

I fail often at this attempt to look on the bright side, to focus on the “thank you” instead of the “I want” tendencies I have.  But tonight, I was pleased and I am grateful that this once, I had a perspective that allowed me to look at partially clear counters, freshly mopped floors, and a clean table with fresh, appreciative eyes.

What about you?  Where do you notice your perspective changing?

 

_________Now, as a reward (or punishment??) for making it through all that__________

I give you the OUTTAKES…. while I was attempting to take pictures, my oh so goofy husband was prancing around in my way… yes, in only partially clothed fashion.  This is what we do with all that free time that used to be taken up with friends and socializing!  Don’t you wanna get in on this action??
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3 comments:

  1. Oh you are so right! All about perspective!
    And, tell M, we are laughing here!

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  2. You made me laugh with the photo of your husband. Thank you for this post, it helped me get in perspective.

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  3. Very well said. No surprise there. Time and experiences can give us a new and better perspective. I'm thankful you took time to think, reflect, and share.

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