The sun is shining, and I feel like the scales are falling off of my eyes.
I feel like a great boulder covered in moss and mold that is beginning to roll, like I was sleeping for a season and now I’m awake.
I feel like winter was long and dark and hard, and I didn’t even realize it until now, in 56 degree weather.
Perspective is an interesting thing.
Sometimes, I look around and life seems boring. It’s the same thing every day. Busy, but the same. And when someone stops to say, “What’s new?” I hardly have an answer.
It wasn’t always that way. When I was in my 20s, life was one big adventure. Every day warranted an update of some kind. Jobs, houses, boyfriends, career aspirations — any of it could change on a day-to-day basis. I didn’t really like that instability, but I did like the adventure. So I traveled around and I wrote about my travels.
I wrote about living in Taiwan and the time I got into a scooter accident. I wrote about being caught in a landslide. I wrote about the ocean in Vietnam, the markets in London and the feeling of coming back to America and taking a shower and not worrying about getting sick from the water accidentally getting in my mouth.
I read some of those journal entries recently and it was so surprising. I read about things I had forgotten, like the time I got stuck camping on a mountain with no tent and no heat, or the time I hiked to a firewater cave on my 25th birthday. As I reread those entries, it was like catching up with a friend I hadn’t heard from in a long time. She was insightful, funny, observant and eloquent, and I liked her. I had forgotten what it was like to be me. I had stopped writing things down. I had lost my perspective.
Perspective lets me love that 23-year-old just trying to figure things out, and it makes me want to tell her not to worry about what anybody else thinks or when she’ll get married. I want to tell her she is doing just fine; she is kind and funny and clever, and I think she’s amazing.
Perspective also reminds me that I would have traded my adventures in my 20s for my future family in an instant. That’s the real adventure — the adventure I dreamed about when I was by myself in Thailand in a hotel room in Phuket or riding an elephant in Chiang Mai.
So today, I looked for the story. What would 20-year-old me say about this day? What would I write in a letter home?
The boys and I went for a walk down the road under a blue sky that was sharp and clear. The clouds were just high enough to remind me how far they can go, and the sun reflected off of the lake sweeping below us. My sons moved like they, too, were boulders that had been dislodged from deep mud that had sucked them in for three months.
My older son raced ahead on a scooter, pumping his leg as fast as he could. He stopped suddenly next to a large pine tree and squinted at a bough, then waved at me. I walked toward him as his younger brother scooted along on his pink hand-me-down balance bike that has no pedals. He’s really gotten fast on that little thing, as unwieldy as it is.1 comment on this story
A few minutes later, when we caught up to the place where my son was still standing, beckoning us to hurry, he whispered, ever so gently, “Look Mom, a robin.” And just like that, the bird that had been content to be alone with him hopped away and flew to another tree. My son turned and sped away on his scooter, on to the next thrill.
And I finally thought of my answer to that question I occasionally get. What’s new? Every day is an adventure.
Amy Choate-Nielsen is a full-time mom and part-time writer. She spends her days at the park and her nights at the computer. She writes about family history and her quest to understand life while learning about her deceased grandmother Fleeta.