Recently I was driving on a four-lane road from Lexington towards Elizabethtown in KY. At 70 mph the scenery flies by, but one thing caught my attention and made me pause for thought. Alongside the road was this sign:
It is an ordinary sign, one you may have seen in your travels. As any good driver might do, I read the sign and looked ahead for the hill.
Now before I tell “the rest of the story” (a nod to Paul Harvey), I must remind you that I grew up in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. We have a lot of good sized hills. Taking your driver’s test meant having to stop while driving up a hill, sit for a few seconds, then resume driving without rolling backwards. On a good weather day, that was an issue. I took my road test during an ice storm. I passed my drivers test, but that HILL was a challenge.
So as I am driving through that beautiful part of Kentucky, I saw the sign that indicated HILL, I looked at the road ahead and found………..…a straight, flat road. OK, to be fair, it had a slight incline, but from the perspective of this native New Yorker, it was not a HILL.
As the drive continued I reflected on the sign and my perspective regarding what is and isn’t a HILL. As a matter of fact, I have thought about that sign and my perspective ever since that day.
For those of you new to this blog, read the earlier posts and this part of the story will make more sense. Yesterday I went swimming. Again the pool was a bit crowded, but I got in the water and negotiated for a swim lane. Who knew that the skills I learned in Kindergarten would come in handy as a grown up woman in a swimming pool? I began swimming on my back (yep, still can’t freestyle) and focused on my arm movements, breathing, not drowning and trying to swim in a straight line. I really was sober, but I couldn’t swim in a straight line no matter how hard I tried. I kept talking to myself saying “don’t drunk swim”, “follow the lines on the ceiling”.
After about 15 minutes, a lane opened up by the long edge of the pool. I moved over and resumed swimming. I could follow the pool wall and swim in a straight line. I began thinking “ I’ve got this”, “I’m doing awesome”. I began to hear noises, my perspective shifted and noticed the two pool walkers a few lanes over. They were chatting and walking at a pretty good pace. I resumed focusing on my swim technique…stroke, breathe, don’t drown. Again I noticed the pool walkers and realized that they were lapping me. For every one length of the pool I swam, they walked 1.5 laps. What the heck??? I was swimming for goodness sake. I am a swimmer, yet I am being lapped by walkers!
The HILL came back to mind. The pool walkers saw a slight incline, yet I felt like I was swimming up a HILL. That’s when I reflected that most of life really is a matter of perspective. A HILL to one person may be a slight incline to another. As I finished out my swim, I decided that I need to become more aware of the perspectives of others as I continue Tinkering With Success. And I need to be kind as others are considering their own HILL.