Twenty-one months ago, I used to worry about what I wore to work. Before I packed up my bag and went out the door, I would ask my wife if my tie matched my shirt and if my shoes went with my pants. I would pay close attention to how I looked in the mirror and the appearance I gave off.
Now, I grab the long sleeve t-shirt and sweatpants scrunched up into a ball in my closet, give them a smell to make sure they don’t smell like musty rags and put them on for the nth time in the week.
Life is about perspective – what used to bother me, doesn’t bother me anymore, what mattered to me, doesn’t seem to matter as much as anymore. It’s all about perspective and growth. For example:
When I was a toddler:
I got upset when I saw a Christmas cookie or candy cane and couldn’t have one. I might even have a temper tantrum If I didn’t get my way.
I got excited when I saw lights on a tree and thought Christmas would soon be coming.
When I was in my teens:
I got upset when I felt like an outcast and didn’t have any friends.
I got excited when my parents handed over the car keys to the family car and let me get out of the house, giving me a temporary feeling of freedom and glee.
When I was in my early twenties:
I got upset when I got a less than perfect grade on a 20-page paper that I had worked on for weeks and stayed up late the night before putting on the finishing touches.
I got excited when I hung out with a group of my fraternity brothers and friends and stayed up late drinking cheap beer, eating cold pizza, playing silly beer games, and quoting lines from the movie The Godfather.
When I was in mid-twenties:
I got upset when my newspaper editor cut the lead to the story that I had worked hard on the past two days, without touching base with me, adding in errors and changing the entire direction of my story.
I got excited when I knocked on the apartment door and met the woman that would one-day become my wife.
When I was in thirties:
I got upset when my elementary-school aged daughter had a fever and felt like a wet noodle when I carried her into the emergency room. (She would be fine, but not before scaring my wife and me to death.)
I got excited when our family of four became five with the birth of our youngest son.
When I was in my forties:
I got upset when my son’s teacher overlooked him and let him fall behind in class because he was quiet and paid close attention to the rules.
I got excited when my kid’s achieved their highest goals.
When I was in fifties:
I got upset when my kids had adult problems and I couldn’t swoop in and make things easier for everyone.
I got excited when the five of us came together after the pandemic for the first time in a long time as one happy family.
From this point on:
I suspect that my perspective will continue to change the rest of my life. Money and material things can come and go. Health will not always be the same. My bet is that, if I’m lucky to make it to 90, I’ll be upset when my nursing home doesn’t have milk and a big bowl of Fruit Loops or Lucky Charms on the breakfast table and I’ll be happy as can be when my kids come to visit.
Yes, life is all about perspective and what we make of it.