“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:
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.