Perspective is funny. Sometimes what is right in front of our eyes isn’t always apparent. Take our homes and neighborhood for example. We are so used to the walls that shelter us, the people who surround us and even the streets that lead us in and out of our daily lives, we don’t really see them. Or at least we often neglect to soak in the finer details of their existence.
I know this because we have house guests arriving in just a few days. And it is funny how it changes your perspective. On everything. Suddenly I am noticing everything. Projects are getting done. Rooms are being organized. Even the garage got cleaned last weekend. And in the midst of scrubbing, cleaning and reorganizing, I questioned my sanity. There are only two weeks left of school. My oldest son is graduating from middle school. And I was focusing my attention on things instead of the people all my efforts centered around. So I decided to change my perspective. Literally.
We all have been in the position of entertaining friends and family members. When someone comes to visit from another state, we find ourselves stopping to enjoy the sunsets, exploring forgotten streets, visiting famous landmarks and making reservations for the new restaurant we have been meaning to try for the past few months. We might even throw caution to the wind and stay up past our usual bedtimes – not working or hunched over a computer screen, but spending time doing fun things with people we care about. In other words, we remember all the reasons why we choose to live in North County San Diego: the weather, the beaches, the city life, the caring communities and the people. And we see them again as they are meant to be seen. With open eyes and rejuvenated spirits.
With that thought in mind, I put a leash on my dog drove the two of us over to the next neighborhood. Walking from my car, I kept a tight grip on my dog. Still a puppy, she was easily distracted by the stream of cars winding up the hill, the workmen giving the neighborhood stores a facelift and the leaves blowing in the wind. She loved the activity of the community. So did I. Chugging up an incline, my mind seemed to match the bustle of the streets. I thought about whether or not I had time to try to touch up the scuffled wall of entry way before our guests arrived and contemplated what types of food to serve while they were staying with us. Did they like red meat? Were their kids picky eaters? Would our guest bed be comfortable enough? Layered onto those thoughts, I had to get to the bank, prepare for a school meeting, find a present for my son's middle school promotion and another one for my nephew’s high school graduation. My to-do list seemed to multiple with each step. But almost in mid-sentence, I turned the corner at the end of the road and found myself at the top of a hill.
Up there, the hum of cars and the community was gone. And so was the swirl of my mind. The air was so quiet and peaceful; it almost made a sound. I breathed out and just stood there watching the shadows gently roll around on the valley below as the sun struggled to break free from the morning clouds. I did absolutely nothing but just simply enjoy the moment. No thoughts. No obligations. No pressure. Just five minutes to soak in San Diego in all its glory. Five minutes was all that I needed. And I was good to go.
Going down the hill was much easier than going up. In more ways than one. My mind was no longer racing. I had a mental list of what I needed to accomplish. But it felt organized and relaxed. Ready to go about the days and week ahead, with an improved outlook and new perspective.
Back home that night, I kept the image from my morning walk in my mind as I washed the dishes, folded laundry, peeked in on my children doing homework and sent out a few last minute emails. Once again I smiled, exhaled, and felt at peace with my world. Yes, there was so much to do, but I was still able to just savor the moment. My to-do list would get done. My visitors would come. Summer was just around the corner. And I would be ready. In the meantime, I have walls sheltering me from the cool night air. I am surrounded by people that I love and care about. And, the road leading from my life and into the vistas of other communities is not as long and far away as originally thought. We don't have to climb to the top of a hill to get our perspective. It is with us each and every day. The important thing is to look around, truly see our community from every vantage point and always keep our perspective of what it all really means.