Put Your Perspective in Your Pocket

I’m riding along the Indian countryside by train, taking it all in. Chai pit stops, late trains due to fog, and extreme poverty passing by me with the ease of merely switching the TV station. Flick, flick, flick, these realities only aware to me through a small window — a screen from my world to theirs.

It’s there, in my face, quickly becoming a part of my consciousness, but then it’s gone. I don’t have to think about what I’ve seen any longer. I mean, my train has passed by, but these are the things that they say you can’t “unsee”.

These occurances have me thinking how thankful I am for travel. Sometimes I almost worry if I’ve seen too much, because I know I can’t “unsee” any of this, and, because of my hunger for the world, my life is forever changed. My horizons are infinitely broadened.

Although this is my new reality, I’ve had to have a reality check with myself that I can’t apply my truths to others. I know how unbelievably good I have it being a middle class citizen of the United States of America. But, for me to come back to the U.S. and demonize my friends and family for being unthankful while living the way the do, it’s just as bad as someone demonizing another for believing in a different god as they do. What’s right and real for me isn’t always right and real for everyone.

We are all led to the truth for which we are ready — “Conversations With God”

I could tell them, “why don’t you read a book” or “you need to get out more” (Ps I would never actually say these things!). Although I feel there’s a lot of truth to the concept of existentialism, I came across a quote lately that revolutionized my perspective on those who suffer from a victim mentality, depression, or some sort of chronic unhappiness.

“Telling someone they can’t be sad because someone has it worse is like telling them they can’t be happy because someone has it better”

This was always my go-to thought exercise when feeling low. Although it’s an excellent tool to have perspective, it’s a tool that is learned. Not everyone has this tool in their toolbox, and some are riddled with difficulties preventing this development such as a close minded upbringing, chemical imbalances in the brain, etc.

I once had a taxi driver blatantly rip me off and when I exclaimed that what he is doing is wrong, his response was, “what’s right for me may not be right for you.” I couldn’t even get mad. Sometimes taxi drivers can be the best of gurus.

So, instead of elevating myself to some horrid travel elitist, I tuck away this perspective in my pocket and smile when I hear people of the first world complain about a hair in their scallop linguine or their 8 hour layover to Paris next week. I now know what’s right and real for me may not be right and real for them.