Life appears sharp or blurry depending on the object in focus.
Some people have the gift of landscape. My husband is the best example of this. These are the people who look up at the night sky and see Orion, not just his belt. These far-sighted individuals understand trajectory, infrastructure, and the long game. Their map is laid out and the course marked (probably the shortest, most efficient one). With incredible patience and unwavering momentum, they plod onward. They stay the course. In running, I try to mimic this.
When we were dating, we drove to the Grand Canyon. It took an entire day. We hurried out of the car and excitedly threaded the crowd to see it. Hands on the green railing, I stared out.
“Wow,” he said.
“It looks just like a painting” I said.
There’s no perspective with something that enormous. You look across, ten miles, to the other rim and take it all in at once, instantly. It is as breathtaking as its reputation. There’s nothing to discover or realize afterward.The beauty of it confronts you, and I suspect that portrait-thinkers appreciate the depth of it. It’s just one mighty red-and-brown layered, decaying rift of ancient geology.
Not all of us have this gift (you will probably find us squatting down, picking up rocks). We have myopic views of the world. We need to take samples and examine the details. The long game simply doesn’t make much sense, and it seems impossibly hard to follow the planned route indefinitely.
It’s unfortunate; we miss the overarching beauty, at least I think so. We don’t have the sense of peace and steadiness.
However, we discover the nuances. We learn how things work. We stop and read the fine print. There are a few advantages of blinders. We obsess. We mull. We see the stains that need to be lifted, we look in the corners.
I admit, I love that I examine things. I love learning
things. The intimate things. When one single thing comes into focus, you notice every notch and freckle. I like to think that there is wisdom in the details.
I’m typically an advocate of dialectics. I think that it’s wise to navigate, and negotiate, the grays. A camera can’t focus on both. I think, perhaps, neither can I. It’s either all at once, instantly, or it’s magnified.
But I think, perhaps, both points of view have weaknesses. The landscape-thinkers have a better grasp on their life. I know it sounds like a horoscope, but they know what they want and where they are going. Many times over coffee, I’ve stared at Brent in disbelief because he can so plainly state what the next move is. Damn, I barely know how I’m feeling today.
However, we know how to throw things out the window. We know how to rip a page out. We know how to laugh and trash it. We know how to accept, with grace, a hard opinion. We listen. We look. There are a few advantages to the myopic life. We see the dust and the spiders.
For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. and I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.
-F. Scott Fitzgerald