Life is always a matter of perceptions
by Delaney Walker
Nov 10, 2013 | 581 views | 0 0 comments | 41 41 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Delaney Walker
Delaney Walker
It is only 9:50 a.m. on a Thursday. About three years ago, I would be getting out of one of my classes at Lee University, like the “Psychology of Motivation” with Dr. Jeff Sargent. Now I am sitting at an almost-cubicle wracking my brains for a column-worthy subject.

In yesteryear, I would have bustled toward the main Humanities staircase. A longing glance would be spared for the elevator before I joined the rush of underclassmen for a downward two-flight journey.

At the base of the staircase, I would take a moment to build up my fortitude, before receiving a brisk slap in the face by Mother Nature.

Curling deeper into my hoodie, I would have reveled in the warmth and comfort of my rugby sweats combo.

Salutations would be traded as I dodged pedestrians, cars and bikes on my cross-campus march. Eventually I would have made it to my next class where five minutes in I would be viciously battling against the demons of sleep deprivation.

And now I bring you back to the present. (I do apologize for any whiplash you experience.)

My alarm went off at 6 a.m. this morning. I convinced myself an additional eight minutes would make all the difference between dragging my body to work and arriving on time and ready to go.

At 6:08, I shot out of bed and began my morning routine. Forty minutes later found me dressed, fed and with Philippians 1 and 2 read.

Clomping into work several minutes later, I clocked in, turned on the computer and bugged my editor before beginning my two stories for deadline.

All of this was completed without falling asleep.

My morning did not consist of rolling out of bed and joining the herds of students traveling from building to building.

Nothing I am wearing qualifies as sweats.

And yet I am happy and comfortable where I sit as I type out this column.

Life changes — isn’t it weird how that happens?

Even more strange is the shift in perspective the years and experiences provide.

OK class, are you ready for today’s quiz?

Finish this sentence: Eat all your food because there are ...

If you answered, “starving children in Africa,” then you just might be a 90s kid.

Parents used this tactic when the cringe-worthy liver, boiled eggs or squash crossed their children’s plates. Suddenly the 4-year-old had a moral dilemma on his hands.

Should he:

n Waste the food and miss dessert while knowing another child was going hungry halfway across the world; or,

n Stomach the bile taste, eat dessert and be thankful for having a full tummy?

For a child whose biggest issue was learning to tie his shoes, this was a lot to handle. Parents were flipping the tables, they were changing their child’s perspective.

(Actually, they were applying Thor’s hammer to their 4-year-old’s perspective in an effort to provide them with the proper nutrients.)

Most children manage to overcome their guilt by the time a batch of steaming cabbage lands on their plate. The starving-children gimmick is really a one-trick (six max) pony.

Single events have been known to effectively alter a person’s long-term perspective. However, I think most change happens over a period of time. I believe perspective, when given space to roam, can grow, shift and mature throughout a life.

My self of three years ago probably would have been a little dissatisfied with certain ways I live my life today. There has been a definite shift in everything from my sleep schedule to my responsibility load. And yet, I am blessed beyond measure with a job, family, close friends, hobbies, travels and an eternal love.

I could look at every aspect of my life and find something lacking, because I am human and tend to be a little on the selfish side, but why spend my time on what I don’t have when I can instead focus on what I do have? 

Here is the tricky part about perspective: we can choose how we perceive the world, but outside influences affect those perceptions. The geographic location, socio-economic status, race, religion and authority figures are only a few of the heavy hitters. We also have the opinions of others, popular media and events that happen on a daily basis.

These factors press inward in an attempt to shape what is ultimately our own choice.

I loved college for its newfound freedoms and experiences — and I love adulthood for the same reasons.

Right or wrong perception is my choice to make, which is a very scary thought indeed.