We all know people who seem to live life with a bit too much perfection. Everything seems to be easy for them and it isn't fair! Women compare themselves a lot to each other and we see how easy and carefree someone else's life is and not the work that it takes to make it that way. Perfect hair, body, clothes, children, husband, home, cooking, canning, homeschooling, gardening, yard, car don't come without a price. Sometimes the person might just have better genetics than me or more money than me, but other times I think it is effort and attitude.
While looking at pictures from my most recent photo shoot, a sweet little 4 year old guy, I realized how much perspective can change a picture and a life too. I took quite a few pictures of Jackson on this window ledge before I realized there was a reflection in the window from a red sign that said "No Smoking." I could probably Photoshop it out without too much work, but why when I could just move over and erase the imperfection?
I moved my vantage point over a few feet and the sign was not in the frame any more. I physically had to move in order to change my perspective to have a perfect picture.
Changing my perspective on real life also takes effort. It is easier to sit in one place and complain about the literal or figurative "No Smoking" sign than to actually move and see life differently. Could I actually have the perfect life in my grasp and not even know it?
This thought was reinforced when I read a post on Resolved to Worship. You can read the post here called "Happiness is Not the Absence of Problems." The writer of this blog appears perfect to me! She is beautiful (even 10 months pregnant with her 7th), an amazing photographer, decorator and mother. Yet even she was talking about how a shift in attitude makes all the difference in her own life.
I was struggling with a bad attitude yesterday when I woke up. Summer holidays are the hardest for me to get through as a farmer's wife and yesterday was a holiday, but not for my husband. He was busy raking hay, "making hay while the sun shines" and I was bored and irritated. I thought of all the people with their perfect lives having perfect camping trips with their perfect families or having BBQs with their perfect friends. And I was home alone while my husband worked, yet again.
I thought of my great "perspective epiphany" and wondered if I could make my life perfect too. It would be my version of perfect with happy kids, entertainment, blue sky, no yelling, shopping and eating out. And did I mention no yelling and happy kids? I could have probably made my perfect day at home too, but I was in the mood to go somewhere.
I packed up and headed to the beach and was there by 10:30. The weather was PERFECT. There was no wind and my kids were happy, happy, happy. My plan was going swimmingly. I began to think that having the perfect life wasn't so hard after all.
We played in the sand and I took pictures. I resolved to think only of the positive and deal with the negative and move on if necessary. I was amazed at how happy I was because of this change. An older lady came by and said, "Enjoy them while they are young. They grow up so fast!" I really was enjoying this moment in time.
As the morning wore on, the girls got dirty and wet. Mandy ate sand, a lot of sand. And I forced a smile on my face and a calm tone to my voice.
And you know what? My good attitude remained with a lot of work. My children were incredibly sandy, I had to pee, and Mandy decided she didn't know how to walk while I was carrying too many sand toys, a towel, and backpack. I kept going and dealt with each situation much better than I would have ordinarily. My first reaction would be to get frustrated, yell, and try to hurry everyone along. Slowing down and waiting for my sand collecting children didn't kill me and my bladder didn't even burst.
There was still sand in diapers and whining for food I didn't have. The children didn't stay happy, happy, happy. But I think they did really well on our adventure with their happy mom. We ate at Burger King and we even made it to the crowded outlet malls and found a few good deals.
I am the first to stand in the "imperfect" line. My little paradise here is not always sunny with palm trees, but I think I am on to something with this perspective thing. I may write a book and become famous and then I'll be rich and will be able to buy the perfect life. I'll be able to hire someone to hose off sandy, hungry children after fun at the beach while I go to the bathroom by myself -- what a novelty! This idea has a lot of merit to me: sitting in the same spot complaining is easier than moving to make the perfect frame. But isn't the effort worth it? Maybe all of us could use a little attitude adjustment from time to time.