keep it in perspectiveDear Kid,

Perspective is a really interesting thing. This past weekend, at Pi’s soccer game, I looked up to see a really big plane (I’m guessing it was some sort of transport plane). It looked like it was stopped and just sitting in the sky. As I watched it, one of the dads said, “It looks like it’s barely moving.” I was really happy to hear it wasn’t just me.

We’re used to seeing planes far away look like they are barely moving. And we’re used to seeing planes close enough to the ground to land zoom past. But this plane was close, and large, and moving at the speed of molasses going uphill in January.

The perspective wasn’t what I was used to and it threw everything off.

Other things are like that. I notice it a lot with Booker. There are days when I look at him and he is all puppy, and other days when he’s pretty much middle age. There are times when he seems all beagle, and times when he’s pure dachshund. There are times when he acts like he’s starving to death and hasn’t been fed in a month, and …well, that’s pretty much all the time.

I think life is sort of like that. People talk about an event and say “I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry” and I think it’s because they can’t decide which perspective they are looking from.

Too often, we get stuck in a given perspective. That’s when the less-than-great stuff happens. That’s when we dig our heels in and fuss about things that later on we somehow realize were insignificant (even though we’ll never admit that out loud).

Here are three tips for keeping things in perspective:

  1. Take a deep breath. Jumping right in often means jumping without engaging any brain cells.
  2. Try to see the situation from another point of view. Very few people are trying to be jerks–it’s generally that their perspective is different than ours.
  3. Think before you speak. This is the whole “is what I’m about to say going to A) help the situation, B) make me feel better at the cost of moving the conversation forward, or C) just prove that I’m more sarcastic than the person I’m arguing with.” Too often some of us (not mentioning any names, but she’s the author of this blog) go for B or C at the cost of A. I think it happens most when we’re feeling attacked and cornered.

It’s not always easy, but try to keep the world in perspective, kid.

Love, Mom