This last week for me has been about shifting my perspective. It’s also been about a few albums I’ve had playing constantly since I got them off iTunes (right now it’s Hey Rosetta!), but mostly about shifting my perspective.
After a few days of particular frustration and a cognitive dissonance that threatened to implode my brain, I hit upon the idea that maybe I need to think differently. In order to illustrate this shift, I refer to my beloved Mitsubishi Delica which Anya and I got second-hand from a guy who imported it from Japan. The best way to describe it is that it’s a right-hand drive Transformer.
Although all the necessary conversions were done to make it DOT approved here, Anya and I eventually learned that some important things were left out, namely the timing belt. While getting this and other mechanical issues addressed, I asked about getting the wheels aligned because ol’ Dell seemed to have a limp causing it to drift to the right. It’s a little disorienting sitting on the right side of the vehicle, trying to compensate for a subtle rightwards drift. The ditch seems dangerously close to begin with, and drifting toward it will have you hugging the yellow line faster than you can say, “Is there a problem, officer?” Eventually, like all Young Drivers of Canada instructors will tell you, I re-established that the best and easiest way to keep a consistent line is to look up the road, not at the painted lines. Alternatively, you could just get your vehicle properly aligned.
I found the same principle at work this week. In a concerted effort to efficiently tackle increased time at the shop, managing finances at home, prepping meals and getting groceries, I was constantly assessing my plans, and evaluating my execution of those plans. My intentions were sincere, I wanted to make the best use of my time, and to approach every endeavour thoughtfully and deliberately. Evaluating every action, then, was a means to improve efficiency and increase my chances of success. Instead, I found my priorities becoming skewed as I lost track of what I am about, and what my goals are for this time. I was looking at the white line, trying to keep equal distance between that and the yellow line. Instead of concentrating on moving forward, looking up at the bigger picture ahead of me, I was bogged down with details. I was obsessing over the side of the road, instead of where the road was headed. And my performance here became the gauge by which I determined my worth. Managing these details, then, became my new, interim goal, and my perspective shrunk down to the 3-inch wide stripe of paint beside me. Of course, the easiest way to maintain a proper gap between this stripe and the wheel is to shift into PARK, but that’s the opposite of what I’m about here. Even so, that’s where I found myself, stalled in the middle of the road. Exactly in the middle, mind you, but stalled nonetheless.
And then I looked in the mirror.
Recognizing what I was doing, and how I was feeling because of it, I realized it was time to sit up straight, find my destination on the horizon, slam it into DRIVE, and get this show on the road again. By focusing on the big picture, what my goals are for the time I’m riding solo, the details will take care of themselves, and as long as I’m on the road moving forward, I’m doing pretty well.
At the risk of mixing metaphors, I want to include a poignant line a friend shared with me this past weekend. After relaying much of what I’ve written here, he told me some wise words he was once given, “Don’t mark your own papers.” Marking my own papers, watching the side of the road, however you phrase it, I wasted too much time on it last week.
But a new week is just starting…