Heavy Doses of Perspective · 23 January 2010

It seems that I have been getting heavy doses or at least many doses of perspective lately. I had at least three last weekend.

The news about the devastation in Haiti has made me thankful that I have running water and shelter over my head. And that I have my loved one around me. I was thankful that I had not been touched by the disaster until I went to church last weekend and realized that more than one person in the congregation had direct ties to people there. I came to the realization that regardless of where disaster strikes, we probably have at least indirect ties to people there. This heaviest dose of perspective helped me realize that I really had been affected by an earthquake thousands of miles away in a faraway land.

A little lighter dose came from playing basketball for the first time in a couple years. It was a freeing feeling knowing that I could run, jump, and play basketball (as much as what I do can be called playing basketball) without worrying about getting injured. Sure, I try to take precautions to keep from reinjuring myself, but those happen with preparation so that I can play the game with abandon. Even if I am just running up and down the court trying to make myself look useful. This lightest dose of perspective made me thankful for my health.

A third dose of perspective came as I was writing last weekend. I was writing my column as a student of mine was writing an essay. She had come to me a day or two before she had to write the essay to get some perspective from a writer’s point of view. We talked about ways to prepare for the essay which was part of the competitive process for a huge scholarship. Apparently, the potential rewards from the essay were giving her stress and she needed some guidance to help alleviate that stress. We did some investigation, talked about her preparations so far, and discussed final preparations for the writing she would do. When we had finished our conversation, she was feeling much less anxiety than when she arrived.

The perspective I received from my student was that she was writing for her future, while I was just writing a blog. She was competing with about a hundred other students for a prestigious scholarship while I was writing to fill cyberspace with what I fancifully call a “human interest column.” Her writing had serious ramifications while mine just fulfilled my need to write. Do not get me wrong. I take my writing and my readers (both real and imaginary) seriously. But I realized that at this point in my writing career, my writing does not mean much in the grand scheme of things while my student’s one essay could mean everything to her.

The doses of reality and perspective that I received last weekend were heavy doses indeed, but they served their purpose to remind important lessons. They reminded me that I have lots to be thankful for, including the most basic needs like clean water and shelter. They reminded me that I am fortunate to have my health and loved ones surrounding me. They reminded me that I am lucky to be able to write without the weight of the world on my shoulders. They helped me remember just how lucky I am.

With all the heavy doses I have been getting lately, I am glad that I have never heard of anybody dying from too much perspective.

© 2010 Michael T. Miyoshi

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