Looking Beyond

I’ve always been a detail person. Perhaps it has been a condition of being near-sighted. My art teacher was amazed at the detail of a drawing I did in middle school. We were taken outside to sketch. While my classmates were fixated on the sky, look of the buildings and towering trees, I was drawing a dandelion that was right there between my feet. It has been thus most of my life. Working in research, being attentive to the small changes resulted in significant contributuions. It allowed me to be able to visualize and draw blood from extrememly small veins and make precise injections. And in a way it held me back from making leaps off cliffs or attempting to step on clouds. My role for many years was that of the cautioner, Jimminy Cricket. I was the worst case scenario person warning of pitfalls. For that reason I personally didn’t make many missteps. There have been times when I’ve been challenged to see the “Big Picture” as an excuse by higher ups to undertake dubious assignments. I’m happy to say that I was able to avoid compromising my values.

As an organized person, I’ve always been more comfortable with a plan. I’ve got a plan for this week, next week, next summer, and the 5-year plan. I’m finding however that I need to look beyond my plan. I have to consider how my plan meshes with the plans of others. Not everyone shares my point of view or my vision for the future. As a Christian I am asked to look beyond my needs and consider the needs of others. Living outside the self and living for something else is a pretty frightening concept. With age is supposed to come wisdom. But I’m finding age reduces my flexibility. I’m set in my ways and I’m becoming resistant to change. Instead of an opening outward I’ve seen myself curl inward. I look for the horizon but my focus is not much beyond the tip of my nose.

The time of social isolation additionally narrowed my vision. I didn’t have much interaction with the larger community. There was an invisible barrier between my world and the rest of the world. Yes, it was a privilege to be able to afford to shelter in place for weeks on end, to have the means and monies to meet financial obligations, and to feel safe in my own home. I acknowledge that I am fortunate and more fortunate than most of the world. The harping and moaning about minor inconveniences makes most of us look like spoiled brats to those whose very existence hangs by a thread. How will we be remembered in the history books? What is the legacy we leave behind? How will we be judged by future generations? These are the questions that loom when you look beyond the self, beyond the individual, beyond vanity. These are questions I can’t answer. In light of the inequality in America I am now aware that change must occur and that change needs my active participation. I can do something. I can educate myself about race, white privilege, and social justice. Perhaps if we all looked beyond our own self interests we could change EVERYTHING!

30 thoughts on “Looking Beyond

  1. Well, you can change yourself but not always the people making the rules. GIving some of your stuff away might make you feel better and perhaps giving to a cause and volunteering your time but maybe your days of protest are numbered as it is hot out there and sometimes dangerous. Enjoy your day.

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    1. Well, I suppose giving my stuff away is one method but I already donate for charity. I’m not joining any protest marches as there aren’t any happening in my neck of the woods (there were a couple peaceful marches). What I can and will do is attempt systemic change by voting. I think that the ballot box is still the main hope for America.

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      1. I might give a few things away but not my cooking utensils and as for marches, nah. Voting, yes and perhaps prayer or action by being good to your neighbor police people, you know that works. And also all the kids.

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  2. Did you now that the Challenger space shuttle blew up in mid air because a rubber washer, the least expensive item on the entire craft, was not able to handle the lower temperatures on launch day, and cracked, causing a leak in the fuel canister, that when ignited went BOOM? A washer that had been installed two YEARS before launch day? So yeah, details and proper planning are key elements to success, and you should never feel distant for having this attribute.

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    1. Living with a Space Geek of the highest order I am well aware. (He even attended Space Camp with his best friend.) Attention to detail is what keeps everyone safe. (Thus the only major incidents while I was compliance officer involved those who ignored and skirted the rules.)

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        1. When I say skirt I mean like wearing a mask on their chin when told to wear a mask… because they were trained and signed off on training to wear it properly but somehow figured that it was “only a suggestion” instead of a rule! Stupid people!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Get out of my head, Muri! It’s eerie occupying the same mental space, seeing words on the page that could have come from my own mouth. I drew a close-up of a morning glory. On our nursing unit, they called me the “What If Girl” because I was constantly thinking about what could go wrong. Before retirement, I was very much a planner. I still am, but less so. Age has turned me inward and set me in my ways. COVID’s social isolation has intensified those things. I whine about my first world problems and feel guilty for whining, knowing many have it so much worse. I don’t know where to go from here or how to make a dent in this age-old political mess other than being kind and voting for those who share my values. I’m glad I’m not alone in approaching life and feeling the way I do. 🙂

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  4. Good post. I have to focus on needs of husband. Some days easier than others. Today after a month of no car I had to go validate a prescription and 3 hrs. later go pick it up. In between drove him to cash his check. I am so exhausted and I need to schedule a day to take Pookie for a beak trim. Not looking forward to waiting in car in this heat.

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  5. Entertaining writing, as always. (i’m nearsighted too and have often pondered how it effects me/POV)
    & YES, on changes needed, and by us, the ‘privileged’.

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  6. Interesting post, Muri, that has made me think. Down Under voting is compulsory – you get fined if you don’t bother. I think it’s an important task and it’s kind of like “ well, if you didn’t vote, don’t complain”. Unfortunately that doesn’t mean we aren’t all complacent about our vote.
    I listened to an economist last night who said that the younger generation went without and hurt most (financially long term by forgoing super, career ops, and putting off baby plans) by going into Iso to protect the elderly, and now it was the turn of those most protected to assist the younger generation. He did not provide examples of how that could be achieved, but my thoughts are yeah, regardless of colour, race, sex or whatever, this an area in which I can make my actions count. Support the young.

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    1. So glad this triggered some deep thinking! Currently in my county they are allowing ballots by mail but our Pres. is attempting to defund and shut down the postal service. Many of the Republican controlled area have closed polling places forcing hundreds of thousands of people (many who have to work) to stand in line for hours to vote… It is nothing short of massive voter suppression!

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  7. Recent events have me reading more about race, racism and their history. It’s been eye-opening and definitely a way to look beyond myself and see the larger issues and picture.

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    1. Growth is necessary since the absence of growth is death… I’ve discovered hard to swallow truths especially about the disparity between my America and the America that others experience. Makes me ashamed.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Once upon a time, I had a Five-Year Plan, as well as plans for all points in between. Having been raised to consider the needs of others, by the same person who now asks, “Why are you so giving?’, I have set the Big Plan aside, as so many have. I can only imagine how this is playing out in the S household-the Home of Precision. You are nevertheless, both an inspiration.

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    1. We are being flexible but this has not altered the long range plan. We are still going to travel to Canada in Aug 2021. Full retirement is in 2023. And if possible our world tour will occur in 2024… As for the little things – we are still in austerity mode and being frugal.

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