It’s All About Perspective

By Deane Barker tags: life

Craig Wilson points out that people need to put stuff in perspective before they start complaining too much.

I was reminded of this the other day when I listened to all those folks on that stranded cruise ship off the coast of Mexico. The ship had a fire and lost its power. No air conditioning. No hot water.

I thought as long as they could hold on to enough ice to chill those umbrella drinks, what’s the problem? They even got Spam and Pop Tarts airlifted in. Who could ask for anything more?

But no. When the passengers finally got off they were using words like “nightmare” and “pure hell” to describe their experience.

Nightmare? Obviously that guy needs to travel in the Third World more. Or at least go to Walmart the morning after Thanksgiving. Now that’s a nightmare.

I thought this same thing. As people were brought off that boat, I took note of all the “nightmares” and “hells” people were using to describe it. Frankly, I think I might have enjoyed it. Rather than a boring-ass cruise with shuffleboard and deck chairs, these people were adrift in the Pacific and the U.S. Navy had to send an aircraft carrier to rescue them. It will likely be the most memorable vacation they ever had.

Whenever I hear the word “staving” (as in, “I’m starved”), I’m always reminded of this piece in The Onion, which is obviously meant to be funny, but isn’t, really. it’s actually caused me to take mild offense whenever I hear someone describe their current nutritional condition as “starving.”

I Am So Starving vs I Am So Starving

(Go read that. I’ll wait here for you.)

My friend Dave has a daughter who is volunteering as a nurse in Gambia for a year before going to med school (spiders!). I have incredible respect for this (especially given the generation she grew up with), and I’m interested to see what effect this will have on Emily as her life progresses. I suspect that she’ll have a much different perspective on what others might consider massive calamities.

My mother was born in Ethiopia, in the mission fields. She lived in central Africa until she was six. Even just spending that short amount of time there, I know she was much more satisfied with everything she ever had in life than she would have been otherwise.

It’s all about perspective. One mans “hell” or “nightmare” is another man’s mild annoyance. In general, try to be the latter.

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