“Change your lens.”
It seems pretty easy, doesn’t it? If you don’t like the focus, change the lens. Change the view. Change your perspective.
We watched this TedTalk titled, “Celebrate What is Right with the World”, by Dewitt Jones. It’s an engaging talk, as you’d expect, and he reels you right in, talking about taking pictures for National Geographic. I won’t spoil the rest of it, but at the crux of his talk is this idea of changing your lens to find more than one right answer in life. I loved this quote:
There are a thousand ways to come at any challenge to find that extraordinary view.
To think about anything in this way is just a little bit overwhelming. So many different ideas and thoughts pop up.
But what if my challenge doesn’t need an “extraordinary view”? Heck, my challenge right now, I’d love to give it no view at all. I struggle right now watching the humanity leaching out of our souls. Between a narcissistic president and the mass of people following him (people I care about posting ignorant, mean, rude things towards others), each lens I put to it brings me to the same place.
So, I changed my view entirely.
Saturday, my wife and I went fishing. She’s been on me to this for quite a while, and so we just went. No, we weren’t going to feed ourselves (thank goodness), but to just get outside. It was a gorgeous day and the fish, well, they were not biting. I caught two fish that friends on Facebook said looked like “bait” and my wife wasn’t much better with her one. I did catch a nice little bluegill, but we pitched everyone back into the lake because we’d be hungry if we’d eaten them!
Then, we stopped at a winery we didn’t know about, and they had a cover band that was just tremendous. Two guys, jamming away with old time rock and rock. We ended up with a bottle of wine, a sleeve of crackers, and a bag of cheese and just soaked it all in, kicking ourselves as this place is a 20 minute drive from our house.
Tonight, I ran the scoreboard for our 7th and 8th grade volleyball games. Now, full disclosure, volleyball is not my favorite sport, not by a long shot. Second disclosure, I had NO IDEA what I was doing and our athletic director was with the cross country team.
So I spent a lot of emotional energy stressing, and even when I got into the gym, I was stressed because it’s been 20 years since I’ve run a scoreboard. However, as I walked into the gym, I was greeted with smiles, and as I messed the scoreboard, I figured things out.
I talked through things with the official and away we went. What struck me, the joy and life and enthusiasm the girls played with during their game. I was filled, for two hours, with a sense of peace and calm because in this gym (with 20% of the people wearing masks), life was good.
So, my lens was changed, my view was changed, and it felt good. Now, I got home and the dread and gloom of Covid and politics washed over me again, but for that time, much was to be celebrated in the world.
So, as I continue to change my lens to try to create a better place for me personally, I’ll cut back on social media even more. I’ve deleted the Facebook app off my phone a while ago, and am to the point of suspending my account. I hate that good people, people that I enjoy, are posting racist, ignorant, and rude things. I don’t need that in my view.
Another lens change will be to continue to write, but add more time to do so. If I’m not on social media as much, I will have more time to take what I see and hear and make sense of it all. I’ve found I enjoy this.
My final lens, I’ve fallen off the excerise wagon and need to get back on. With less time on social media, that means more time to devote to getting back into a shape that is not round (though that is a shape). I’d lost 20 pounds since Christmas (not at anyone noticed), but have gained 5 of it back with school starting (stress eating anyone). If I can drop that five and five more, I won’t be morbidly obese anymore.
So, what lens changes can you see in your life? Social media? Family time? Time practicing the things you preach? It’s a mindset, that is for certain, but it’s one that has to happen for change. I need to find ways to keep my own humanity because I’ve felt is slipping away for a while now. I’m hoping this can help. All I can do, all we can do, it is try to back the world, and ourselves a little bit better.
September 23, 2020 at 4:46 am
I do hope you will write more. Your voice is clear and honest and hopeful.
You did good in giving of yourself and your time for those girl who needed you to keep score and for your beloved who wanted to fish with you.
Your decision to cut back on social media is a good one I think. Go where the light is, Darin. Bring light with you wherever you go.
September 23, 2020 at 9:45 am
You make me blush! Thank you for the kind words and the thoughtful comment. We need to be the light for those who feel the darkness around them. That’s my hope with reframing my view, that I’ll see that light more often! 🙂
September 23, 2020 at 10:37 am
Oh dear. That was not my intent. You’re very welcome, Darin. I shall hope along with you. We possess a great opportunity and responsibility in this life. Moments escape in a blink and if we have not stewarded them well then disappointment and sorrow may find us. Thank you for making a decision to read here as you can. I appreciate your encouragement.
September 23, 2020 at 4:54 am
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. We are lucky in so many ways. There is so much suffering the world and it hurts. But we have to go on. And if we have to go why not go on with a positive attitude ? 🙂
September 23, 2020 at 9:42 am
We are so lucky in so many ways! It’s just that we need to reframe things to see what we do have in front of us! 🙂
September 23, 2020 at 10:46 am
Good morning, Lakshmi. Welcome. I am happy to meet you. You are very welcome. Yes we are blessed beyond measure. In the presence of so much suffering in the world there needs to be men, women and children who are brave in their taking a stand for and bearing the truth concerning many things, including the hope we are given through beauty, compassion, and mercy for example. I am thinking of you with joy as you live with such an attitude in your sphere of influence.
September 23, 2020 at 10:49 am
Silly me. I thought to welcome you, Lakshmi, but you are not at my blog you are at Darin’s. Goodness.
September 23, 2020 at 5:48 am
What’s the expression – even a bad day fishing is better than a good day at work 🙂 Sounds like a marvelous holiday!
Also agree with you that Facebook is poison for the soul. So little good on FB these days – just backbiting and nastiness.
Lens changing is important cyclically. Great post.
September 23, 2020 at 9:41 am
>even a bad day fishing is better than a good day at work<
Perfect!! And it was a better day! Just another Saturday in Northeast Iowa! 🙂
September 23, 2020 at 7:46 am
I love the idea of #changeyourlens. I needed that reminder. Your fishing date sounds fun and you even managed to squeeze in lots of other fun too. Sometimes changing your lens means you see more (good) in the world.
September 23, 2020 at 9:40 am
That’s the hope, seeing more good, because it’s awfully dark right now and and I know there are awesome things to see! 🙂
September 23, 2020 at 3:24 pm
Thanks for the inspiration to change my lens. Remote instruction with my daughter has been challenging. Perhaps I need to change my lens where that’s concerned.
September 24, 2020 at 9:05 am
I’m not saying it’s perfect, but it has helped just to actively look for the joy in situations where there really isn’t any. No, it’s not something that’s going to chance my mindset right now about the pandemic and the election, but it can give some relief. 🙂
September 24, 2020 at 9:07 am
My hope, you’ll find the things that you see with you and your daughter change, move towards more positives. None of us are trained for us, and we’ve only done it one day a week! However, we can get through, we can be better on the other side, and that’s what gives me hope right now for everyone! 🙂
September 26, 2020 at 7:08 am
Darren, what an honest and relatable post that I just came to read now. Thank you for your vulnerability. There are so many things I can relate too. I too suspended my Facebook account a few months ago. It was the best thing I’ve done regarding social media. It was just too painful to see the conversations between people that I was close to. 2016 was bad enough. I did not want to deal with it in 2020, especially given the nature of our 2020. I too can relate to stress eating and working on improving my exercise plan. Here’s to the end of 2020 with new lenses and silver linings coming from this year. Stay safe!