Everyone’s got one.
Perspective: A point of view. A cultivation of billions of unique experiences, making no two people’s perspectives identical. At least I believe.
Sure we can share a hometown, family, nationality, religion… But that only guarantees more reference points will overlap. Reigns in those degrees of separation. At best, prints out a report of data, but not a personality. The best we can do is try to understand one another. Depending on the situation, that can be really, really tough. It can also be extremely rewarding. Finding things in common is always better than looking for differences that divide us.
One of my friends is a landlord. This morning he posted on facebook that a tenant of his came to him unable to pay this month’s rent ($280/month). Her reason was that she cremated her dog and her husband was too depressed to go to work. He then wrote “What is this world coming to?”
About 35 comments and most were outright condemning the couple. One of those walk a mile in someone else’s shoes situations. I can’t imagine the position they are in. I can’t imagine. I can’t conjure up feelings of near-eviction. I don’t have a dog, husband, or landlord. The best I can do is wrack my own tiny vault of memories for something that resembles despair. I can’t imagine how my friend will decide how to proceed as a landlord, who has given them a previous warning. Without judging their choices. With compassionate, yet fairness. Right before Christmas.
I think about something a lot when I’m running that I want to share:
My running route is through a residential neighborhood, then a high-traffic busy road, then a park. Cars, bikes, and pedestrians. When I’m on foot, in my running shoes, I expect everyone to yield to me. Don’t pedestrians have the right of way? Always. No matter what! I’m walking here. I bike a lot too. Sidewalks and bike lanes alike, I’m not picky. As long as cars stay the hell away from me and those slow people on the sidewalk MOVE to the left. I drive most often. When I’m behind the wheel, I roll my eyes at pedestrians who don’t use the sidewalk or follow the lights. I impatiently wave them forward at the stop signs. I silently curse bikers who dart in and out of traffic. Why don’t they get out of the way?
I think about how dramatically my perspective shifts. Same road. Totally different points of view.