Updated: Aug 13, 2019
Sometimes a change of venue can reset your outlook. Different scenery from what you are used to everyday can remind you that there are other ways to look at the world and view your own little corner of it.
We had this experience recently in Northern California.
It has been a difficult year for Tom and I. We lost Sadie and Lincoln within 10 days of each other – our furry babies. After a long illness and a death watch, we lost Tom’s step-father. Right after we learned he was in his final days, Tom was told his career of 29 ½ years with one company was soon to be over. Two days after that, I had my first ever mammogram callback – it was all fine. For a month, we thought we might be moving to Columbus. After Tel’s funeral, not a day had gone by without something either breaking or going haywire, including a car hitting a deer that hit our mailbox, and me losing a number of things such as car keys that cost more than $200 to replace, one shoe in San Fran, Tom’s gold college class ring, & a watermelon.
And those are the highlights.
Needless to say, our planned trip to Cali came at the right time, though I must admit I had visions of a plane crash in our future. We decided not to think about that past or the future for 9 days as we volunteered for the US Open and drank wine & beer up and down the coast!
About day 2, I noticed my mind stopped racing and my heart slowing down. We were driving to Napa Valley through a landscape you cannot find in Ohio. It is dry out there right now, so the grasses looked like wheat ready to harvest. Wild anise – which looks like dill - grows along the side of the road with various wildflowers, and the smell of the sea settles in your nose like a bouquet of peonies.
Our ride to Salinas for the Open on day 4 was a marvelous site. The valley’s claim is that it feeds America. After seeing thousands of acres of produce of countless kinds, I don’t doubt it. The chocolate brown earth smells heavenly. The fresh fruits and veggies are the best in the world. The hardworking migrants smile as you drive by seemingly grateful that someone notices them.
It was then that I realized I was experiencing my problems in a different way.
In the midst of the chaos and top-tier stress events, it was easy to get jaded. We were feeling attacked – and I think we were. Disarray makes it difficult to put events into a perspective of the bigger picture. So often, the immediate and the urgent overshadow our goals and dreams and prospects.
As I watched the farm workers toil with bent backs and long hours, I thought how fortunate we have been & how much my husband’s company has afforded us. Travel, a nice home, no need for two full-time incomes, etc. No matter how his tenure ended – it was not handled well – we cannot remain bitter.
Day 5 was our first shift at the US Open. We took a shuttle into Pebble Beach and the famous 17-Mile Drive. The beauty of the bay is beyond description. And where there is such beauty, there will be wealth. The homes, some opulent, some just very nice, were as lovely as the scenery. The golf course is a paradise. A little chilly most days with a mist from the fog, you felt like you must have been plopped down in London. It gave the place an air of mystery and uniqueness.
If we had arrived here on day one, I wonder if my perception of the place would have been so kind. It could have been a reminder of what we may never get to do again or of dreams, however lofty, that are much less likely now.
But seeing the extremes in life style on that drive to “work” only served to remind me that there are many ways to live, many ways to thrive, many ways to enjoy life. The biggest factor to contentment is not what we have, but how we think about what we have.
I “preach” about the importance of attitude and outlook in the classes I teach. Like much of what we know is true, applying their importance is not always easy. Sometimes I need a reminder to practice what I preach.
And all it took was a change of scene.