This is another post that we are republishing as comments from readers how it helped them keep things in perspective and let them know things can get better. Also feedback from some other new sites, blogs,newspapers and TV publishers, etc. as they wanted to feature it/me…which I declined. Maybe someday I will do a news segments on all this, the business, sites, etc.
If you are a low income family looking to catch a break, or middle class or wealthy, and something goes wrong, always be sure to keep things in perspective because as we wrote, almost everyone has challenges in their life that will come up from time to time. It is often hard to keep things in prospective, but it can be done with effort.
Perspective can come from many things. Experts say, and I have learned some things to do, including always try to take a step back, remain calm, thoughtful, non-reactive, think about the bigger life picture, and due your best. It is trying to see things from someone else’s eyes, keeping calm, ask third party for their views, consider you may be wrong, and be reasonable. Emotional and reactive behavior is always harmful and leads to things blowing out of perspective even more. I see it time and time again in my life from growing up until even current, and experts say it is a terrible way to react to a challenge. Remember, things are sometimes out of our control, and things also can change. And as the poem says, Don’t Quit. Don’t ever quit….Some of all of this may be helpful for perspective.
I wrote about the 2008 financial crisis and losing money in the market. I also wrote about some other challenges, as I have faced them too. In a few of the challenges I faced, I always did my best to keep calm, focus on the positive. Let me preface by saying I have always believed in a spiritual, higher power. Maybe someone looking out.
Back in late 2008 the stock market was imploding. It was maybe the worst sell off in ~70 years, since the great depression. I had made all of the money back and much more from what I had in 2000. But over a matter of weeks in September – October 2008 or so, I lost maybe 30-40 percent of my assets, 6 figures multiple times over. Millions of Americans lost their jobs, homes to foreclosure, and struggled to pay the bills. I tried to remember many had it much worse than me and I was blessed, and that help me keep my enormous loses in perspective.
But the meltdown and financial loss happened so quickly, it was traumatizing, and was hard to keep things in perspective. And it was everything I made back from early 2000, so this made it maybe more “doubly” traumatic in my mind.
I remember going home from work one day and I literally started crying…and I never cried. At least back then as this year I am much more emotional as I go through therapy, try to deal with various events (many that stem from childhood and that were suppressed for decades) and deal with other life events. Even though it was difficult, I tried to remember it would get better. But it was hard to keep the loss in perspective, even when trying to the things people should to keep things in perspective as noted above.
But an another major event at that time also helped put things into perspective in a drastic fashion. A few weeks after the markets started plunging I was driving to work. For some reason, when I woke up that day, I had an ominous feeling about that day. At the time I attributed it to more stock market volatility, but as I later learned maybe that feeling was an instinct or warning from some other power.
Anyhow, I got up, went to work. I commuted as I was in the corporate world still at the time while I was also at the same time launching my business. I was on I-95 in the Boston MA region at about 5am, and it was still dark and a heavy rain with poor visibility.
I was in the far left passing lane following few car lengths behind another car, and all of a sudden the car I was following swerved almost uncontrollably from the left hand lane over 2 lanes to the far right, “slow lane”. I looked at that car for a second and said to myself WTF. But as soon as I looked straight ahead again and focused on the road, I saw the reason why that car moved over 3 lanes on no notice.
I looked back up and there was a car driving right at me…yes, the other car was driving on the wrong side of the highway! The car I was following obviously so it first and swerved to the far right. As noted, I was distracted for a second or so as I said wondering what was going on, and when I regained attention, the car heading at me was almost right on top of me.
I too swerved to the right, and almost even crashed into the far right barriers going ~60 MPH as I too swerved uncontrollably. I got out of the danger line it in time of course otherwise I would not be here, on this planet, to tell this story. It was a matter of a couple seconds maybe that I avoided a head on collision with me and another car driving ~60 MPH or so at each other..so closing at ~120 MPH. That event helped put things into perspective at that time…while I lost ridiculous amounts of money in the markets when they collapsed, I was probably within a couple seconds at most of dying. I tell you, a close encounter with death definitely gives some perspective!
Another instance, this one in a car as well, I was a teenager. It was hard with mom struggling to pay the bills, dad gone, kids picking on me in school. etc. My sister was driving on a cold, snowy night in the Syracuse area. She was exiting the highway on an off ramp, and I had a bad feeling for some reason…it was that greater power that I sometimes think may be looking out for me. I remember her sliding off the exit ramp, almost down an embankment. Who knows what would have resulted back then when cars were not a safe, no cell phones, etc. Another example of perspective.
There are a coupe other issue of health scares that amounted to nothing, family members with issues, etc. It is hard in the moment to keep calm, non-reactive, think about the big picture and things will change, and keep life in perspective, but it is important to do.
When I was a kid, it was hard. Struggling family, substance abuse, and other things I wrote about. I would always try to tell myself I know the future will be better, and tried to keep things in perspective. I tried to focus on the big picture as much as any kid can.
I focused on the long term and bigger picture. I knew I had an inner drive, and that things would get better. As I say and is common knowledge, finances do not lead to happiness, and I kept that in perspective…that money does not lead to self-respect, a better future or self-worth. But from when I was a kid, things did get better, much better financially at least.
Now I walk outside my front door, walk a minute or two towards the water and hear seagulls, and sometimes in the morning or evening I can smell the ocean breeze. And at night or in the morning I can walk a few minutes and watch the sunrise (my favorite…morning peace) or sunset over the ocean marshes. Or I can drive to and be on the sand on the beach in 5-10 minutes. Simple, peaceful things can be found whether you live by the ocean, in a major city, in rural farmland, or anywhere….perspective.
When I was a kid, it seemed like it was so hard…and it was in the moment. But perspective is realizing things can be better. It is also the ability to see things from your whole life, and not that exact moment. Try your best to take all the steps needed to keep perspective, and being content and living a simple life can also help.