Balanced Perspective

Categories Life, Self

Hello, friends, and happy July to you!

I’ve spent some unplanned time away from this space lately. It’s only been about two weeks, but it feels like much longer than that. My absence here has not been for any particular reason other than just being about the business – and busyness – of life. The last month has been a bit of a blur.

Zilla finished school the first week of June and since then we’ve been enjoying the early days of summer break. We’ve stayed up late – and slept in late – far too often. But that’s part of summer, I suppose. Summer is a time for doing those special things and living free from the restrictions of school bells and bedtimes. So we’ve watched movies and fireworks, chased rainbows and fireflies, and just generally enjoyed the easiness of summer.

We’ve celebrated some birthdays in the last several weeks. This year I celebrate a birthday that is much closer to 50 than it is to 40. And my child is much closer to a double-digit age than she is to birth. This month marks sixteen years since I met my husband and three years since I stepped out of my teaching career and into my life as a writer. Time certainly marches on.

My blog also had a birthday last month. I’ve been putting my words out in front of the world here on this page for five years now. Five years and 666 posts posts later, I’m still here. I got a bit weirded out when I realized this marks my 666th post. But my husband, who is ever my compass in life, reminded me that “it’s just a number.” Yes, true. But numbers do bear significance. Just as quickly as he said that to me, I remembered that six three times is eighteen, a sacred number in Jewish numerology symbolizing life. I like that idea quite a bit here on the first post of my new year.

I love when things are new. There are so many opportunities to in life start over, begin anew, make a change. We can start any time, any day, for any reason. I’ve talked about that before both here on the blog and more recently, over at Open Thought Vortex magazine. I really do believe it’s important to seize the opportunity for a fresh perspective any time we need one. So the start of this next year of my life seems like a great time to revisit my goals and dreams, check my perspective on a few things, and make sure I know where I’m headed.

I’ve been thinking a bit lately about my One Word for the year – balance. Midway through the year seems like a fine time to step back and assess. We seek balance in so many ways – balance between work and home, personal and professional, our roles as parent and spouse, and so many more. We seek balance in our health and fitness efforts. Are we eating enough fruits and vegetables? Getting enough sleep? Am I a more balanced person than I was six months ago? Perhaps in some regards; perhaps not so much in others. But I do know that I can see some progress (another One Word I keep in mind) in myself.

Then there’s perspective – how we see things. This is something else that’s been on my mind lately. When you spend any time thinking about numbers and progress in life and fresh starts, it’s so easy to get stuck in a particular way of seeing things. We get caught up in the numbers of life, sometimes. I’m how old? I thought I’d have more to show for myself by now – more accomplishments to list, more money saved, more pounds lost. We get caught up in how we see ourselves and our lives compared to others. Why does it seem that everyone else is moving ahead in life while we remain stagnant? We perceive “them” as having it all, while we have nothing. But nothing is ever really what it seems. How we see the world is all about our perspective and the perceptions we form from those perspectives. Other lives may seem better, easier, more successful – but are they? And if they are, does it matter? Sometimes our perspective needs to be adjusted and put back into balance. We need to remember that have been blessed so much more than we allow ourselves to see.

That’s where the thankfuls come in.

It is far too easy to lose sight of what we do have and what we have accomplished. And that’s where I’m always glad – even if I’ve been away for a few weeks – to check back in with the Ten Things of Thankful gang and take stock of the things in life for which I am grateful and the blessings I do enjoy: A safe and comfortable home. Enough to eat and wear. A beautiful, intelligent, glorious handful of a daughter. A husband who is a fine and good man, my partner in all things – life, parenting, friendship – and inspires me in ways I never could have imagined.  Friends. Family. Cats to keep my feet warm at night. A cup of the best coffee on the planet made by the nicest guy on the planet.

I am thankful for my faith, no matter how tested it feels some days.

I am thankful for the gift of words, no matter how many (or few) make it to this page or are seen by other eyes than mine.

I am thankful for the beauty and grace I see in the world that shines out from behind the pain and sadness that tries to eclipse good. Rain showers and rainbows. Sunshine and cool breezes. All manner of things and people in this world proclaim that there is something good and powerful at work within and around us. Always.

I am thankful for opportunity. For the ability to live life on my own terms, no matter how simple those terms may be at any moment. For the ability to create the life I have imagined for myself, my family, and perhaps some day in some small part, my world.

I have come a long way in the last year. I have come a long way in the last five since I started writing here. Hell, I’ve come a long way in the last week. But that’s the real blessing, I think. That every moment of every day is another offer to begin again, to live, and to become. How blessed are we among all creatures to have such vast opportunity?

I am thankful for life. I am thankful for the life I have led up until this moment, for the life I am living right now, and for the life that still waits before me…

Here’s to the rest of it.

I’m just getting started.


Lisa A. Listwa is a self-employed writer with experience in education, publishing, and the martial arts. Believing there was more to life than punching someone else’s time clock and inspired by the words of Henry David Thoreau, she traded her life as a high school educator for a life as a writer and hasn’t looked back. She is mother to one glorious handful of a daughter, wife to the nicest guy on the planet, and reluctant but devoted owner of three Rotten Cats. You can find her adventures and thoughts on living life deliberately here on the blog.

18 thoughts on “Balanced Perspective

  1. Love this….especially when you take a look at how far you have come over time. Isn’t that what life is about after all? Ever changing, ever growing. I find such contentment in that thought.

  2. This was an AWESOME post, Lisa, it reflects so much positivity, hope, and a much stronger belief in self than the girl I once knew here! I can always count on you to see goodness and promote it, and I cheer for that! Big congrats on reaching milestones of all kinds, and of continuing to see that you are making progress in creating the life you want!

    I love your casual summer approach, and I really wish more families would adopt that, give the kids a chance to break free from obligation and routine for a little bit, and parents too! Or as a friend once said, “Does it really matter if now and then they get to eat dessert first?”

    Imagine if five years ago someone told you that you needed to write 666 posts! It would have seemed impossible. And now look, that’s just the posts you’ve published on your blog and not even a tally of all the other writing work and journaling you’ve done! Writing keeps us sane, and is also such an awesome gift we will leave for our children. They will have the opportunity to know us far better as people that we ever did our own parents. Here’s to five more years of great writing, and five more after that!!

    I really like your concept of starting over as often as we want to or feel the need. To often we get bogged down in extending the wait “I’ll start again on January 1st, or next month, or my birthday.” We can always begin again, today, right now in fact! And knowing that and not feeling bad about it, is so freeing! Balance is a great word too, it’s easy to go off the deep end and wear ourselves out in the process. Balance feels good, it feels right, and it’s not as hard as we might believe. I am learning even at this old age to be more at peace with the flow of life, take it as it comes, day by day, and not constantly be trying to tweak it.

    Perspective is everything, and so is being open to adapting a new perspective when we things in a different way! Some people get stuck in a mindset and never consider that what felt right then might not be a good fit for who we are and what we believe now. I’ve changed positions on some things two and three times in six decades of life, and probably will again, each time understanding a little more clearly.

    A good home, family, cats, and coffee, that sounds like a pretty great recipe for a happy life to me, though I would have to substitute tea. 🙂 And faith, where would we be without it? Even on the days when we struggle to understand, we also find in it the peace and the strength that we need. I believe, and I remember all too well what life was like at a time when I couldn’t say that with any certainty.

    I believe that to be thankful for our lives, including all the hills and valleys and winding roads, is the greatest gift we can give ourselves, and the best thing we can teach our children and share with others. I am thankful for your words, for your wisdom, and for your friendship, I am thankful for you! XOXO

    1. Thank you, Josie. I am thankful for you, too. xoxo
      Honestly, I didn’t feel too awesome in the writing. Kind of felt like…I dunno. Blatting out brain noise. There’s a lot of that in my head lately, but I’m working on finding my calm. I really do try to find the goodness out there, though, which is sort of uncharacteristic for me. Maybe. When I was younger, I always saw the negative, the dark side. People often told me I had a defeatist attitude. I can see why they would say so, and I honestly think it has everything to do with my ADHD, which I didn’t know I had back then.
      Our summer was going to be all about the routine, mostly because it is so helpful for Zilla. Well, we kind of blew that off – and it showed. So this week she’s in VBS and back to her activities and she’s bouncing around so happily. She needs to be busy and occupied. She really thrives on that. We have definitely spent some time eating dessert first. Because that’s a necesary part of life, too. Either way, we’re having fun!
      What you said about perspective is exactly where I live. And Emerson had thoughts on that – “Speak what you think today in hard words and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today.” When something in life is no longer a fit, we have to consider a change and it is absolutely OK to change what we think, feel, and believe when it’s the right path toward growth.
      Some days it is indeed a challenge, but I really am thankful for all the moments of life – the good, the bad, the highs, the lows – because it all brings us to the place and the person we are right now.

  3. Interesting view on the function and value of balance. It made me think of something my T’ai Chi teacher used to say about, walking is to be out of balance deliberately. I suspect he had more to add to that observation, but I like the notion of balance as being a dynamic state, as opposed (and how I read your words here) to static and un-changing position.

    Excellent TToT to bring everything into account not simply to add up the good and bad, forward and backward, but to broaden the context in which (we) measure progress.

    I agree, more perspectives are better than less. (Alternate) perspectives not only allow us to get more from the world around us, it serves as a reminder that there is always more, (to the world), around us than we are usually aware of, as we row the river of time.

    1. I think balance is really not about having it all figured out or all in perfect proportion – that’s what we think it’s about or what we tell ourselves we’re supposed to believe. But really, to me balance is about knowing when to push and when to pull, when to put a bit more on this side of the scale or a bit less on the other. It’s figuring out what needs our attention and energy now and what does not. That make sense? So yeah, it really is a dynamic state, ever-changing, just like we are.

  4. Perspective and balance. I wish more people would even consider these things. My mom has been my biggest teacher of these.

    Congratulations on these milestones. I am at three years and I am so glad I began blogging and found yours and you Lisa. Your words comfort me and make me smile.

    1. Sounds like you have a very wise mom!
      And thank you, Kerry. It’s always good to see you here and your comments always make me happy.

  5. This was beautiful, Lisa. Just beautiful. I’m SO glad you have been sharing your words here for so long and I expect nothing less in the future- 🙂 Happy Blogaversary and oh the 666 made me giggle. It’s all in how we look at things, right? I like the new info you shared about that number- ah, much better.

    My favorite takeaway from your message:

    “But that’s the real blessing, I think. That every moment of every day is another offer to begin again, to live, and to become. How blessed are we among all creatures to have such vast opportunity?” <— SOOOOO GOOD.

    I am adding another thankful- I am thankful I met you in this vast and glorious online world of writers.

    1. Thank you, Pam. I always think the greatest thing is that we can choose a fresh start anytime. As for balance, maybe the key is simply that striving for it makes us examine our lives and be more aware. Also not a bad thing.

  6. Your writing is inspiring, Lisa. I truly felt lifted up by reading this and your article at Open Thought Vortex. To see how people overcome the challenges in life is very faith promoting. Learning to keep our lives in balance and checking our perspective from time to time is so important and of course being forever grateful for our blessing and the lessons we learn as we live our lives. Not only are you a great writer but a great teacher.

    1. Pat, thank you. I can’t tell you how much I needed that this morning. Was just sitting here feeling like a big fat writing fraud, so your words came at just the right moment. Day made. <3

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