So it’s a New Year. Are you still living in the same house as last year? CHECK. Living with the same people? CHECK. Are you still in the same job or basically doing the same things, feeling the same (apart from all that holidaying at the beach which is over, DAMN)?
CHECK. CHECK. CHECK.
Do you feel the same, or somehow different – like your old self, only with the potential to be newer, a brighter, shinier and (hopefully inevitably), older version of you?
Of course there may be nothing you want to change about where you live, those you live with (and hopefully love), even what you do – you may just want to change your attitude, your approach to life.
You may have changed your perspective, or be starting to change – habits, they say take at least two weeks to form. New perspectives, I suspect, take anywhere from an instant to most of a lifetime. Sometimes they never change and we call them ‘isms’ – racism, sexism, terrorism, fascism, communism, fundamentalism, alcoholism. I’m only subscribing to positivism (and a few glasses of wine)!
Unless we have something really bad or something really good happen to us, then our perspective tends to shift, slowly, in small ways, sometimes with pivotal moments that suddenly make things seem different, only they’ve been moving that way without us seeing it – coming out of the shadows and into the light.
Other times we try to put a deadline or a magical milestone around a change, in our reality, or in our perspective.
Little Yang turns four on February 10– his perspective is that he won’t be able to wipe his ‘bum bum’ until he is four, and not a day before (and I suspect not very well a day after either).
A colleague friend of mine at work is taking a mid-career break (12 months off, unpaid of course, but with the guarantee of returning to your job, should you want to). I really feel she won’t want to. She feels really lucky.
She looked radiant, free already, when I caught up with her for coffee (she energised with juice) on her last day this week.
She’d already surrendered to the universe – not to a new perspective as such, because it will come with the travel and the new horizons (both internal and external) that she is setting out to explore, but to the sheer and utter POTENTIAL of changing her perspective. Of REALLY changing.
And that is the secret of a new perspective – surrendering to the wonderful, abundant, scary, unknown potential of it, without knowing what form it will take, how it will look. Without knowing what the view out the window will be. Getting on that plane, train, bus, or closing your eyes and opening them back up again.
I’m envious of her (of course) but also reflective on our time in Canada. We spent 2011 on a year-long exchange (Mr Yang’s job and our house). We spent the year living a dream, that became a reality and not exactly a dream but certainly a new perspective and then, with hindsight, a dream again.
In some ways I didn’t know what to expect and so surrendered to the sheer and utter potential of the situation. I felt very lucky.
In other ways we’d been planning it for so long that I knew the shape of days in the snow (not so much) cold (quite a bit) and wet (almost constant). And I had such high expectations of how I’d live out the year, of the person I would become, that I almost left no room for finding a new perspective.
I imagined joyful days at home with our newly adopted baby son, being a proper stay-at-home Mum to him and our (then) 7 year old daughter. I imagined I could be great at just BEING that, and feared I wouldn’t be.
I knew the familiar feel, the strange comfort, the cold creep of the depression that came through the cracks with the wet and the cabin fever. I recognised myself and my circumstances, despite all the major (and pretty rapid) changes that occurred.
And then it snuck up on me, when I wasn’t looking, when I wasn’t planning our holidays in North America or drinking far too much Chilean wine or skiing or enjoying our baby son and just BEING a stay-at-home Mum. It came out of the shadows, and into the light.
And that’s the real secret of a new perspective – you can’t plan (or not too much), you can’t expect (especially too much of yourself), you can’t time it or force it.
I have a new perspective this week, after the kids stayed three nights with Mum and Dad and Mr Yang and I had a date night with Walter Mitty and his secret (perspective-changing life) and then dinner at our favourite middle eastern place (well we’ve been there twice, making us regular diners in our lives).
I missed the kids, not just of course, but REALLY. I didn’t miss them that much REALLY. They were REALLY good for Nanny and Poppy, REALLY?!@ Miss Yin was practical, helpful, and REALLY protective of her brother and got over the major case of separation anxiety that had her in tears and us in guilt (and tears) as we left. And they didn’t fight at all – REALLY?:?!!
The secret is out – my kids are great.
You can change you reality and yet not your perspective.
You can change your perspective and yet not your reality.
The secret lies in that potential, all that wonderful, abundant, scary, crazy, amazing, unknown, sheer and utter potential. I wish you a universe of it.
Linking up with Grace for FYBF. Cheers,