Each person is born viewing life from the same place. You need food, shelter and the loving arms of a caretaker. After those first few moments, we begin having experiences or enduring circumstances that shape our unique perspectives. How you’re treated, the schools you go to, the friends you make and the jobs you hold all impact the person you become. It’s fascinating to go through life and see people making decisions on how they will use their time, spend their money or help others.
It’s always a matter of perspective, isn’t it? I am always amazed by how interesting it is to hear the perspectives of a few people who were involved in the same project or saw the same event. Very rarely do they have the same thoughts or ideas regarding exactly the same thing. Two people can virtually have the same experiences by growing up in the same house, being parented by the same people and going to the same school, yet they can have dramatically different perspectives. A friend of mine in college used to say that if a hang nail was her biggest problem, then it was her biggest problem. I personally could never see it from her perspective.
I try really hard to view the world through a larger lense. I want to view my situation against a backdrop of issues and circumstances that are different from my own. I can’t get hung up on a hang nail situation when I’m aware of the bigger, much more significant issues that people around me face — not to mention those living in war-torn countries or struggling for life’s basics, like the people in Haiti.
Frankly, I’ve had more blessings in my life than I probably deserve. I think about our cover woman Joanie Brogan. She has 10 beautiful blessings roaming around her house at any given time. But from my perspective, I can’t imagine having a large — and I mean large — family. I think I would lose my mind, but somehow she is not only capable of, but excels at being a mom. Now, from her perspective, what she does day-in and day-out is not anything special. It’s just her life. She keeps it together with 10 kids and even home schools her young ones. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
We’re talking about food this month. Can you imagine cooking for 10 children every day? I can’t. From where I stand, it seems very daunting and overwhelming. I have a love-hate relationship with food: I love eating it and hate cooking it. I have never pretended that I was a good cook. When I was dating my husband, I invited him over for dinner and promptly microwaved his meal. He married me anyway. At the time, from his perspective, it just didn’t matter that much. That was a long time ago, and I’m sure his viewpoint has changed a bit over the years. Unfortunately, mine hasn’t.
Speaking of a long, long time ago, I will be celebrating a milestone birthday this month. Before you start guessing and embarrass us both, I’ll be 40. I’m actually all right with it. Age is mostly a matter of the mind. Mostly. Of course, there’s no slowing down the aging process. I get that. What has been most interesting is talking to those who want to tell me all of the body parts that will begin … shall we say … transitioning, or the new wrinkles that will suddenly appear the morning of my big day. Are they trying to be helpful? I always wonder.
One thing I never wonder about is the Lansing community. I was awarded the Lansing Regional Chamber’s ATHENA Award last month. I was honored to be recognized as someone who cares about our community and also cares enough about women’s issues to do something about it — from my perspective, it’s just the right thing to do. I was also moved by the outpouring of love from so many friends and colleagues. I want to thank each and every person who sent their congratulations. It meant so much. I promise to continue working hard to support this community — especially as it relates to women.
Finally, I’m looking forward to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on March 17. I can’t believe that we’re already gearing up to toast to our leprechaun brethren. Have fun, be safe and wear your best green outfit. And if you have the perfect shoes, all the better.
Here’s hoping you have the luck of the Irish all month long.
Tiffany Dowling, Publisher