The Life of Experience and Changing Perspectives

An out-of-state friend and I text back and forth. Setting a time to call and discuss a book we were reading.

(Which of course, often turns into a catch-up-and-gab time. Oh, and let’s-talk-about-the-book before we hang up time.)

We decide to call tomorrow. 2:00

Tomorrow arrives, and after looking at my calendar that morning, I remember the scheduled chat. I even remember once again as I was eating lunch.

Next thing I knew the sun was setting, I was cleaning up dinner plates, and 2:00 had clearly come and gone.

It wasn’t the first self-made plan that hadn’t taken shape at my house. Nor will it be the last.

I know this fact – that plans can fail to turn out as planned — as deeply as I know my name. Time and experience have instilled this in my mind multiple times over. (As if I keep forgetting it and need to be reminded yet again.)

I texted my friend. “Dear me!!! I think we both forgot we were going to talk today at 2:00. Oh well! Life!!”

And I could almost hear her laughing an hour later when she texted back.

Learning from life experiences changes everything. Suddenly those things you thought mattered so much, don't really. Because now you have perspective.Learning from life experiences changes everything. Suddenly those things you thought mattered so much, don't really. Because now you have perspective.Learning from life experiences changes everything. Suddenly those things you thought mattered so much, don't really. Because now you have perspective.

 

Life’s Education.

 

Life has a way of educating us. Smoothing us. Calming us. Providing perspective.

If this had happened in my earlier days, say my 20’s. I would have been horrified I forgot to call. Embarrassed and worried when she didn’t call me. Stressed that I had somehow given her the wrong impression of me or my intensions. I may have even worried it into a shape bigger than a bread box and asked my husband’s opinion. By bedtime, I would have worried it into the shape of an empty room complete with a trapped rhino.

And this I know for a fact. Rhinos are not good bed fellows. They keep you up with all their moving and leg kicking. And then their horn is pretty sharp, so you have to be careful of where their head is located, in relation to you.

By the first light of dawn, I would have had blood shot eyes from lack of sleep. And convinced myself that I was now facing a mini crisis.

I do not miss those sleepless days where I doubted and mico-analyzed myself and life.

Nope, I have told that rhino to sleep elsewhere. That the bed is to small for him to sleep with me anymore.

Yup, after life educating me over and over with anything and everything not going as planned, and still the world not collapsing in on itself like a black hole sucking me into another dimension, I am much calmer and am able to take things more in stride.

At least most of the time.

Because I am done with churning stomachs and stress and worry turning into a downward funnel that sucks my joy into nothingness.

Well, at least most days.

And if I catch myself soon enough, the rhino is only a squirrel.

Learning from life experiences changes everything. Suddenly those things you thought mattered so much, don't really. Because now you have perspective.

 

In the big scheme of things (and life), it probably doesn’t matter that much.

 

That’s what I have learned over the years.

After many mishaps and things going zig and zag, instead of linear as I planned in my Day-Timer and brain. I have realized that most things don’t carry as much weight as I initially think they may.

What things? You may be asking?

Not getting dinner made.

Forgetting someone’s name and calling them something totally unrelated.

Little boys peeing in the front yard. 

Babies shooting things from both ends onto my clothes.

Showing up a day late for a birthday party.

Tossing the unopened Amazon box out and the garbage team collecting it before I remember.

Forgetting to bring food to the potluck.

My son’s bird pooping on a guest.

My child having a meltdown during church.

Being late. Being early. Not even showing up.

Not getting the bible study lesson read before the meeting.

Burning dinner minutes before company arrives.

Forgetting to call my friend at 2:00.

Yup. Things like this happen to most people. (Even if they don’t admit it.)

This is all just part of life. (Or at least my life.)

Learning from life experiences changes everything. Suddenly those things you thought mattered so much, don't really. Because now you have perspective.Learning from life experiences changes everything. Suddenly those things you thought mattered so much, don't really. Because now you have perspective.Learning from life experiences changes everything. Suddenly those things you thought mattered so much, don't really. Because now you have perspective.

 

The benefits of perspective.

 

Finally learning that life rarely goes as planned, but instead takes detours and crosses mountain passes without warning, has its benefits.

I am calmer.

I can laugh at myself and life more.

I can save my energy for more important things, like that afternoon nap.

I can just breathe and let it go.

And I try not to base my worth on what I do or don’t do.

I have also leaned grace and compassion for myself and others. (Because I see their life not going as planned sometimes!)

Yup, if your kid has a meltdown in swim class, I am more sympathetic and don’t judge. I think, hey, I can relate. And will probably toss you a smile and words of encouragement. Because I have been there.

That’s the great thing about the Life of Experience. It slowly chips away and changes your perspective.

You begin to take yourself and the detours of life a little less seriously.

And that’s a beautiful thing.

Learning from life experiences changes everything. Suddenly those things you thought mattered so much, don't really. Because now you have perspective.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 


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Join the Discussion: How has your perspective changed over the years?

Learning from life experiences changes everything. Suddenly those things you thought mattered so much, don't really. Because now you have perspective.

May link up at Kelly Balarie (#purposeful faitht), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Maree Dee (#Grace & Truth), and Kristin Hill Taylor (#porchstories).


Sometimes you meet a friendly, but wild squirel, who wants a little petting!

Learning from life experiences changes everything. Suddenly those things you thought mattered so much, don't really. Because now you have perspective.Learning from life experiences changes everything. Suddenly those things you thought mattered so much, don't really. Because now you have perspective.Learning from life experiences changes everything. Suddenly those things you thought mattered so much, don't really. Because now you have perspective.

Learning from life experiences changes everything. Suddenly those things you thought mattered so much, don't really. Because now you have perspective.

20 Replies to “The Life of Experience and Changing Perspectives”

  1. I have learned:
    That Life happens For me, not To me. (There is always a good reason and up side.)
    To look for the blessing when things don’t go as planned. (There IS one.)
    That I would rather be happy and laugh at myself, then stressed out at not being “perfect”.
    GRACE. Grace for me. Grace for others.
    To teach my Critical Inner Voice to be more positive.

    Thanks for the reminder not to take life (or myself) to serious.

    • Yes, Bliss. Look for the blessings when life doesn’t go as planned. Because it won’t all the time. And yes to grace for self and others. The more life doesn’t go as planned for me, I know it is not going as planned for others And giving them grace helps us all. Especially my critical inner voice.

  2. Ever had your mind go blank in the middle of a speech before a roomful of people? Not just fumbling, but completely, totally blank? No subject, no words, absolute nothing? I now say prayers for other speakers who are stumbling. It is agony to see someone suffer like that. I should know, I have been there!

    • My sympathy is flowing towards you, Colleen! And I am feeling for you. Our experience allows us to be more compassionate for others. So yes to praying for speakers. Or anyone fumbling for words.

      I don’t know how your speech ended, and you have me curious, but once, years ago I was giving a speech and about ten minutes in, my mind went blank. I had a panic attack. Not a good feeling. I opened my mouth and nothing would come out. After about 30 seconds I just walked off and sat down. I was so mortified. But I didn’t die, and I learned compassion for others and myself. And that death does not come after mortification. This to shall pass and life will march on (even as we are wishing the floor would shallow us up).

      Here’s to no more speeches ending this way. Colleen, may you always have the words you are wishing to say. Especially when in front of people and when giving a speech.

      Thanks for being brave and sharing.

  3. This has been my experience as well! Things that used to horrify me hardly register anymore–and some of this I attribute to the failing of my memory! I just can’t remember to obsess about things anymore.
    (This is also true about holding grudges. There’s just not enough brain capacity for that anymore . . .)

    • I love it, Michele. You forget to obsess about things anymore because of failing memory. And yes, to not holding grudges. Which really does take a lot of energy and memory. Two things I am trying to conserve these days for more important things.

  4. So so very true. I don’t mind getting older in this particular area – and even some of the other stuff is bothering me less because I understand more each day how fleeting it all is for all of us <3 Love your writing …can hear your "voice" as I read <3

    • So true, Laura. I don’t want to be 20 again and go back to all the worry and stress of my perception back then. Glad for age and a more balanced attitude. Because it is so “fleeting.” thanks for your kind words. <3

  5. Theresa, my perspective has certainly changed, mellowed, over the years. I am sometimes reminded of a quote by the superintendent of our school district used quite often: “We’re good, but we can be better.” That’s what I keep reminding myself. I think we lose some of our “self” as we age and that’s a good thing! More room for God.

  6. Life would be a sitcom sometimes, if it were happening to someone else and we were watching it. I think it is just letting go the cares of the world, and perspective, it just as important, the telemarketer that called me stupid, the forgotten boiled eggs that exploded and sound like gunshots, and a thousand other things. Thanks, Theresa.

  7. Gorgeous photos, Theresa! Looks like you spent time in Glacier and Yellowstone :). Age has definintely helped me put things into perspective. I have daily goals, but if unexpected guests drop by, it doesn’t ruin my day. I just move my tasks to the next day (or wonder why I felt it was so important to begin with).

    • Yes, to Glacier and Yellowstone. Both so beautiful and soothing. I love you not letting guests ruin your day. I am so with you, what I thought was important is not as important as I think.

      Last night my husband and I were walking through our neighborhood and on our way home we saw our neighbors, who invited us in for a quick chat. 2 hours later it was our bedtime, but connecting face to face felt so good. I had totally forgotten what I wanted to do when I got home.

  8. I love the rhino analogy! And it’s true that we often blow things out of proportion. I think I’ve developed a better sense of perspective too as I get older, realising that things that seem like a big deal at the time are really not in the grand scheme of things.

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