Monday, October 6, 2008

true perspective

Many years ago, I worked with a man about to retire. He had worked for the same company for over forty five years. He had lived through layoffs, wars, buyouts and management trends. He started work in the early sixties - when computers fit in rooms the size of cafeterias.

He had an amazingly zen attitude about the workplace. I'm not saying he was a practicing buddhist, I couldn't say what religion he practiced (if any). He just didn't let anything phase him. He wasn't distracted by politics. He knew whose side it was expedient to be on, and he was on that side. Everyone on the team respected him.

Perhaps it was age and experience. I certainly hope I have his skill and attitude when I reach his age. I believe he had made a conscious decision to weather whatever storms came his way. To focus on this business of living, working and thinking.

One would think, growing up in a strict lds household, that putting things in their "true perspective" would be simple for me. It's not. I struggle with it daily. Putting the focus on the good I can actually do, what I can impact while being mindful of my limitations. Realizing that it's a cop out to think "if I don't do it, no one will". Realizing the arrogance of such a statement - that I know what's best for everyone else, for every relationship.

I remember the countless argument I would get into with the other 12/ 13 year olds in my sunday school classes. Somehow, most weeks we would end up in the same place. Arguing about whether or not women should work, be anything but barefoot and pregnant. Where the teacher was during these arguments I have no idea.

Looking back on it, I think it had more to do with the five or six boys vs. the two or three girls than anything. Each week, one of them would say something and set us off - baiting us to see if we would respond. Drawing attention from the endless (and usually boring) lessons. And of course it would be boys vs. girls - separation by gender wasn't questioned in the slightest by anyone.

"True Perspective" - according to whom? What does that mean exactly? For me, it's true perspective for me alone. Choosing what to say (or what not to say). Deciding how, when or if I want to confront. Establishing and re-negotiating boundaries. Working through my sense(s) of obligation to figure out what I'm really obligated to do (that's an especially hard one for me).

It is so easy, for me, to get caught up in the argument. To take the bait. To react instead of choosing my battles and ground. Yet when I get drawn into some arguments, in trying to control and manipulate - I find I lose myself and my perspective.

1 comment:

Freckle Face Girl said...

I think most women are easy to bait. :)