Musing, Philosophy

Depth of Field Living

Mondays seem to be defaulting to my day of talking about nothing on the blog. Mondays are challenging, as I get back into the routine of the week, from the unregimented weekend, especially this last weekend where I did very little. I was lying around trying to let my body fight off the virus that has been attacking me. It’s not easy to accept that lack of momentum in my busy life, and I try not to whine at my First Reader when it happens. But this morning I got up, drove to work, and settled into a routine.

There’s something nice about the routine. It’s like having supports to hang onto when I’m feeling a bit wobbly. I can make it until lunch, or until this thing goes into solution, or until that reaction reaches completion, or the end of the day… it breaks up the time into chunks, and I can handle each one individually. I’m trying not to think much about the week as a whole, let alone anything longer term than that, because I just can’t even. I can’t wrap my head around a very busy week with multiple appointments after work through it, and the lack of sleep and time that will mean. I have to just tighten my focus to what’s in front of me this minute, how long I can hold out until I have a chance to take a break. When I’m feeling human and back to myself then I’ll be able to stop, readjust my focus, and make any adjustments to the long-term that are necessary.

I was telling the Ginja Ninja recently (and I’ll follow up while we’re driving around in the car together, a great time to chat and have parental quality time) that she really needs to write down, on paper, what her goals are for finishing her senior year, getting her driver’s license, getting a job, and starting college as she prepares to leave home and become an adult. I know, but she doesn’t yet, that it’s really easy to get overwhelmed and busy and so locked into the immediate problems that you lose sight of your long-term goals. I think that if I had formalized my goals at her age, I might have taken a different life track. I might not, but there was a point where I lost control/gave control to others through my own inaction, and that I do regret. I try to be intentional with my life now, and I should have been then. So I am encouraging her to take control, have a plan, and execute the plan.

It’s not about doing huge things every day. It’s about breaking it down into small bits, the ‘how do you eat an elephant?’ metaphor. Sometimes on a day-to-day basis, it’s so granular you don’t even notice it. Saving 20K for a house downpayment isn’t something you’re thinking about at work, really. Working towards your Master’s degree five years down the road isn’t a priority this week. In my daughter’s case, she’s not thinking yet about her career in any detailed manner. My son isn’t yet ready to contemplate his college major. But I do think about packing my lunch, rather than going out and spending $10 on a restaurant lunch and not having that money for the house. It’s a tiny bit of sand, but someday all those sand granules are going to be a beautiful beach to relax on. And sunscreen, a lot of sunscreen. My daughter can be focused on her grades, just like my son, to make it easier for college and work prep. The kids can be held to doing daily chores because that’s how you train them to work, even when you could do the work for them easier and faster (and with less whining, hopefully). 

It’s a bit like depth of field in photography. You want to look at the whole picture, but you don’t want all of it to be in focus because that would distract from the composition. So some of it is there, but soft and non-threatening, not shoving it’s way to the front and shouting ‘look at me!’ until you turn the lens and adjust a little and then that bit is what’s in focus. Choosing the right lens – the right focus – is how you get beautiful and sought-after boken effects in the background of your photo. Like life, with dreams just twinkling in the distance. With a solid plan, you know that those twinkles aren’t unreachable stars, they are solar systems with possibly habitable planets and amazing chances to explore new frontiers. 

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