Today has been an interesting day of perspective taking, contemplation, action, and conversations. When my son came home from school we did the usual, “how was our day” conversations and, then, he asked me what would make my day better. That is one of my tricks, and I should have seen it coming, but I fell into it. Eventually, we began to talk about my desire to provide other things for him and the gaps I see, how that makes me feel, the roads we’ve traveled, and the things that are to come. See, for me the roads we have traveled have been challenging at times, daunting or scary, and sometimes they have provided us with adventures, friends, and memories beyond my dreams. And then there’s the “now” of it.
I’m completing graduate school in February. There was a time when that was only a dream. In 2000, I completed an undergraduate degree in psychology with a minor in urban studies at Kent State University and wanted to go on to graduate school, but I was terrified. All too often I thought I was not smart enough to pass the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) so I stopped there. When I decided to return, it was 10 year after I finished, and 8 years after my Mother died. She and I had discussed returning together to complete a degree in counseling. The end of the journey brings excitement, but also anxiety, stress, concerns, and an evaluation of where I have been with a look at where I want to be.
My conversation with my son reminded me that he has a perspective that is different from mine. While I am worried about providing a bang-up holiday experience and lamenting the possibility of not being able to be with family on Christmas day, he began reminding me of things to come. My perspective was laced with the things we had overcome and are still having to hurdle while his perspective is that we are almost at the finish line of this race. All of the moving we have done, traveling to see family, missing holidays, being without vehicles, doing without “the newest”, and frustration were only a part of the training for this last sprint. In his teenage wisdom, the perspective is that it is temporary and that he is thankful for the adventures we’ve had together. Most of all he is thankful for our bond and proud of my determination.
The past year has been a a challenge, and the end of this year seems to be a good place to remember that there is more ahead than behind. And, that giving up now because of a temporary perspective won’t win the race! At the same time, let me impart, that during the race to the finish we have to be willing to stay in the moment, manage our breathing and emotions, and learn to push or pull back when needed. That is what helps a runner get through the race successfully.
With that said, my perspective has shifted to keeping my eye on the finish line, surmounting challenges as they come, but also being with the journey and never giving up because I’m too close now. And so are you.