Life is all about perspective, isn't it? We all have one, and it's often very different from the person sitting next to me, or walking with me, or looking at me with disdain as I navigate through my day.
But as we age, some strange things begin to happen. We either lose total sight of everyone else's right to even have a different perspective, or we embrace the fact that life is like a carousel, with constantly changing people and viewpoints around us as we ride those brightly colored horses labelled "experiences." I hope I'm in the latter group.
Last week I accomplished my "thing I've never done before" for the month, which showed me my city from a new perspective.
Here in Jacksonville we have an elevated Skyway that consists of a few automated cars that creak along a track through the downtown area. It was built sometime within the past 20 years, and I had never ridden it. (Which illustrates its usefulness around here, but this city has been debating THAT point ever since the little self-propelled car pulled away from the station the very first time.) I can remember when my now 28-year old daughter was a little girl, we stood and watched it on occasion, and said "We should do that some day." But we never did.
So, downtown I went last week with a friend to ride the Skyway. I'm not sure why it was free (THAT'S a new perspective!), but we went through the turnstile and up to the platform. I looked down on the roof of the cars in the parking lot below, huddled like toy vehicles scattered across the dirt. We don't often get to see how dirty the roof of our car is, do we?
We boarded the next car that came by, not really knowing where we were going. I've gotten much better at that, too, as I have aged. I don't always need to know where I'm going....life has been so much more fun operating in the dark, too.
I saw the central plaza in the city from above the trees, and city hall workers on the 4th floor peering out at us as we rode by. We crossed the St. Johns River that runs through our huge urban area, and saw it stretched outside the windows, our ever-present reminder that nature is mightier than we are, no matter how much we try to puff ourselves up.
I saw myself looking at, well, me in the reflection of a passing building, an admonition that there are eyes everywhere, a lesson we all learn the first time we do something we think no one will EVER find out. And then we get found out. It never fails.
There weren't many people riding the Skyway, although we met a nice gentleman, impeccably dressed, who rides for entertainment every day. We encountered two young women (twice!) who seemed to be students, and were using the train to get to the college downtown. But their perspective remained focused on the little screens on their phones, as do most young people today. Some day they will realize that life happens elsewhere, but who am I to spoil their fun?
Perspectives change over time, too. Riding the Skyway showed me new views of the city I have lived in for nearly 30 years, giving me a new perspective of my home....at least until it changes again.
Just like we do.