With another year ending, a new year beginning, there’s all the usual talk about New Year’s resolutions – or avoiding them in favor of, for example, doing a past year review.
I’m all for that; I’ve already been reviewing not just my past year, but my life so far.
And I’ve noticed something it would be good to consider: Perspectives Matter.
The last two years, since the pandemic began, have been odd, anyway. And I’m talking about the last two years right after mentioning a past year, not past years, review because it’s all been a blur.
With everything that’s been going on in the world, with official restrictions and personal care and responsibility changing plans and possibilities, it’s all been unusual.
Personally, we lost my wife’s father to cancer and we lost a pregnancy. The book research I had been doing was interrupted and the writing has not gone smoothly.
It would be only too easy to look at these things and fall into a depression.
I have always had a tendency towards that, anyway.
My life has been unusual; I knew early on what I wanted to do, that I wanted to have an influence on the course of the world in regard to sustainability, to ecological functioning, to our understanding for that.
And if you think that you have never heard anything much about that from me, that’s because it’s been my great failure.
The view I have been wanting to present is still lacking, but it is also too similar to arguments you will have heard from only too many people.
I never became as good at presenting it as I would have wanted to be, couldn’t decide about ways to try to present it.
Unsurprisingly, I was never able to make a career out of it, tried and failed, and ended up working rather oddly, with a very unusual curriculum vitae.
It’s still bothering me; I still want to get back to it – and I still haven’t quite found how, even as the theme of this blog is related to it, and I like it.
Points of View
That’s just the point here: So far, I have looked at the past year(s), at life so far, from a negative point of view.
That’s not the only one there is, though.
As much as I dislike stupidly rosy views – don’t get me started on positive thinking in its unreality – there is another perspective on life.
As long as you are still alive, you can also see things differently. In fact, biographical memory has a tendency towards the positive.
The travel experiences when things went wrong were extremely frustrating in the moment, but we (re-)tell and remember them as the adventures that made things much more exciting and indeed memorable.
The challenges of a life are also the things that were overcome, that show what we can be grateful for.
I was afraid that my wife might be overly sensitive and break down from negative experiences, but we have remained strong and maybe even become stronger with them.
We certainly can appreciate it all the more that we seem to have a healthy baby on the way!
From Positive to Outright Promising
My non-career makes it hard to explain the course of my life, but it has also made for a life with international experiences, with a long time working in China and learning about this amazing country, and having been able to follow different interests.
Where others have to struggle for an early retirement or mini-retirements to get away from a 9-to-5 they barely tolerate, I have found times with a 9-to-5 and a decent income a relaxing break from my more-ordinary concerns with getting by.
And where I got by, it was with help from my parents, through the relationship with my wife – which have all been all the greater for it. Or at the very least, something I very much appreciate and treasure (and try to remember when there are everyday little grievances).
So, Shift Your Perspective!
So, when you review life, remember to shift your perspective. See different sides, the bad and the good – the reality!
Try to learn from it, but not dwell on it (especially in negative ruminations).
After all, there’s still life before death, journeys before their destinations!