Saturday, 12 October 2013


Katie strikes again. She has asked in one of her notes, "How has your perspective changed?" It's a big question given that I have now had nearly six decades of life in which to contemplate the view from my lowly perch. You see, perspective is all about your mental view or outlook, the way you see life and the world about you. Perspective is that which colours all, that which focuses and filters your vision and view.

My perspective has changed dramatically over the years, perforce on the wings of tide and time, pushed by the natural ebb and flow of life, shaped by the stages through which all, or nearly all men go. My perspective is not fixed; it has been molded and formed, and will continue to be molded and formed, until my last breath. This is simply because one's position changes as one's life changes, one's view changes as time and circumstance demand.

This change has seen me through the foolishness of youth, when I thought I could shape the world to my ends, rough however they might be. This change has seen me through the enforced patience of parenthood and child-rearing. This change has seen me into my mid-life, where whole new vistas open up with the removal of the cloak of caring and protecting. This change continues as illness has forced new ways of living and doing upon me.

How has my perspective changed? It has gotten broader, more forgiving and more accepting. Now, with children behind me and my life in my own hands, I need not fear for my family framework. Yet, even as a parent wanting to create a stable, sheltered homelife, I was broad, forgiving and accepting. That part of me has simply matured to encompass far more than just my narrow family life.

As I have grown, I have come to be more willing to see that I can not only be incorrect, but correct as well. For so many years I worried that I was wrong, that worry used potently by my ex-wife as a tool to manage me. For so many years I was fully willing to accept that I was the least likely to be correct, and in so doing became the most vociferous advocate of my own correctness. My weakness expounded itself in my willingness to trump the possibility that other views might be valid and useful. Where my argument was weak, I shouted.

Now, thanks to the passage of time and ravages of living, I can see that being right or wrong is really not what matters. What matters is what we do. I still shout on occasion yet I am comfortable simply observing the cupidity and foolishness that tumbles about me in daily life. I am still me, still loud, still boisterous. Yet I have learned that sometimes it's not important to be right, especially when your internal strength suffices to uphold. Most importantly, I have learned, in so far as I can, to share both rightness and wrongness.

My perspective has changed. It is no longer about me and the world, me versus the world. It is about me in the world, me as a part of the world. It is about how my part must be played, and how I must play it. Perhaps that is the biggest change; my view starts from outside of myself these days. My inside is still here, still mine, still present; it's the point if view that is different. I am no longer inside looking out; I am outside looking in.

There is no perfection in this, no completeness, no smug complacency. I am still a failing, stumbling, struggling, unsure human, desperately seeking my place in this world. I just see if from a different point of view these days, as through a lens distant from myself, as if it were a picture in a frame. I can observe, both in my rightness and wrongness, both in my perfection and failure, both in my kindness and cruelty. I am not a dispassionate observer but simply one whose point of view has changed over time.

1 comment:

  1. Gotcha! Thanks for the thoughtful answer.