Perspective

The days are finally feeling longer again in yet the temperature refuses to keep up with the times. Apparently this is the longest, coldest winter the UK has seen in over 30 years and I get to be here for it! I really do get why the British are so obsessed with talking about the weather though, I mean it’s positively ridiculous – how could you not be?

The reason for my post today is slightly linked to the weather actually. You see, I’ve recently posted on Facebook quite frequently about my dislike and contempt for this weather. And one of my very dear good friends posted something along the lines of “oh poor you, in London with bad weather”. I understand you, Leslie – I really do! And she’s right, of course. How dare I complain about the weather when I get to live in as great a city as London with no kids to be responsible for or any mouths to feed other than my own or any hypothetical ropes to tie me to my location? It sure does sound selfish and unaware of me doesn’t it?

I’ve talked about perspective before, I’m sure. The thing is that it keeps cropping up and I always try to remember that behind every argument, misunderstanding, barbed comment, and quietly uttered gossip, there is perspective. Of course, there are situations where one party is right and the others wrong, however I think a lot of the time it is really just a difference of perspective and the inability to either recognise this difference or the inability to understand the other side of the coin.

Every single weekday morning and evening I walk by a Tesco on my way to work. A lot of the time there is a homeless man standing outside asking for change. I know he recognises me because he sees me nearly every day as I pass by. (As a side note I just realised I typed “recognises” with an ‘S’ automatically and now I’m afraid of how English I’m really becoming without my noticing… but I digress). And there are times at the end of the work day where I just feel utterly exhausted and defeated and walk with my head down and shoulders slumped. When I pass him he says, with a smile on his face, “that bad is it?”. PERSPECTIVE. He’s a homeless man asking for change (in THIS weather!) and I’m moping about over a hard day at the office.

That said, let’s look back to my beloved friend Leslie (I hope she doesn’t mind) – she has two beautiful children and a loving husband. She lives in Yellowstone National Park with nature abundant around her. Her likely perspective (which I can understand): she has two children demanding every second of her precious time, her loving husband works nights and there’s nowhere to go because she lives in the middle of a national park with scary-looking buffalo surrounding her backyard. My perspective: she has a man who loves her no matter what and a family she has been able to create with precious moments and memories only children can give you every once in a while. And she has buffalo surrounding her backyard.

I live in London and have a good job with some pretty awesome friends and free evenings to myself whenever I want them. Her likely perspective: I live in a city where nearly anything is possible, I have a great job, and I don’t have anyone to worry about but myself at the end of the day.  My perspective: I live in a polluted rush of life and while I don’t have anyone to worry about but myself at the end of the day, I also don’t have anyone to worry about me at the end of the day either.

It really is all in perspective and, no matter what your religious or non-religious views, thankfulness. I know for a fact that Leslie is thankful for her family although it no doubt must try her patience and strength sometimes, as it does all mothers. And I know that I am thankful for where I am in life as well. That doesn’t stop people (or at least not for long) looking at others and envying what we do not have – I guess it’s human nature and the result of an ever-connected semi-transparent world. It’s also partly a result of people posting on social media about the pseudo-perfect life they want people to see, rather than how their life really is. And how can we blame each other, when if I was to post how my life really is, you would look at me and ask why I was complaining and vice versa? Not only is this perspective but the different things each person values.

Perspective. It is in everything, because we are all unique. And thank goodness for that.

Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a half-full bottle of wine sitting on my kitchen counter that I believe I shouldn’t leave alone…

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