When explaining to me the reason for a book's or person's point of view my wife will tell me that a particular lens has been used. I guess it means that the view is shaped by the distortions or focus that the metaphorical lens imposes on the situation. Recently I have been musing about the variety of lenses people use to view the world.
Several recent events that I have experienced have underlined the importance understanding different points of view. As many of us anticipate the onset of the new ski season we react in a number of ways. For the geezers who have 30, 40 or even 50 seasons under their belt there can still be an enthusiastic anticipation of one more great season on the slopes. We can hope for lots of snow, great conditions, and another year enjoying the camaraderie of our associates and friends. Even after so many yeas of skiing we can still feel the stir of excitement that we initially experienced in our first year of skiing.
A week or so ago when we had a turn of colder weather, one of my Cornell associates stopped by my office on her way to coffee and asked me if I was looking forward to the ski season. Her visit was prompted by not only her own anticipation of a new ski season, but more so by her 4-year old son's expectation to be skiing in a few days. Observing his enthusiasm through veteran skier's eyes is heartwarming. May he have lifetime pleasure at the sport. In these early stages, his lens tells him he is an expert skier. However, his mother's view holds at least more instruction to keep him in control and safe on the slope.
This past week I also attended my 60th High School Class Reunion. Our class of 28 graduates have met several times in the years following our graduation. In the early years post graduation we did not meet. However, we did begin to meet with our 25th reunion. Our 50th was our biggest bash with the highest attendance. Post the 50th we have had a lunch or dinner meeting almost annually. At these gatherings the lens guiding the discussion tends to point to the past. Certainly we have many good shared memories. However, I sometimes find the sole discussion of the past depressing. I prefer to view life focused on the future and enjoying the things yet to come.
To conclude, I prefer to focus on the now and the future. As an example, on my commute to the office, I try to put myself in the mindset of the artist, the agriculturalist, the naturalist. I can enjoy the rain, the sunlight, the cloud formations, falling leaves, new buds, harvested fields, and especially the progress of new construction projects. Onward good people. I plan to make my lens pointing forward and as rosy as possible.