Walking around my friend’s new home this morning, I am taking in the offerings wafting in from her living room bay window: the sea, the islands, the deep green trees, a ferry slowly leaving. So much peace and so much beauty for her to drink in every morning as she starts her day. I am so happy for her, and I tell her so.
Her response switches a light bulb in me.
She says: Yes, it’s such a gift. Even though I am out of town, it is such a gift to be here.
Out of town?
I don’t understand.
She lives a couple of blocks away from the house where I spent six years while my children were teenagers. We had moved there after leaving our lake house and had instantly been amazed at how “in town” we were. After several years of making sure we did not forget the milk when we made our thirty-minute drive home each day, moving to that neighborhood had felt to us as though we were living right in the center of everything. In fact, in the early months, we had delighted at being able to go back to the grocery store a couple of times a day (that wore off pretty soon).
Yet my friend feels as though whenever she is “in town,” she needs to make sure she does not forget anything before she makes her way home.
How does that work? Same neighborhood, two completely different stories. Two completely different stories leading to two completely different ways of being.
We usually gauge new things / places / experiences / relationships in contrast to the previous ones.
What had seemed to me like right in the middle of town compared to living by the lake, feels to my friend like a big trek compared to a home where she spent a weekend before first moving to town.
Is either one of us right or wrong? Does one of us need to convince the other? I don’t think so.
As I shared my perspective with my friend, we both felt the levity and gift of the lesson: we get to decide the story we believe. Because they are both “true”, the point of power resides in deciding which version of the equally “true” story best serves our current life.
Close to the store? Far from the store? Interesting? Boring? Wealthy? Poor? We can probably respond yes or no to the all of these questions, depending on what we compare it to.
The better question may be: Which answer is going to to inspire us to live in the most joyful way? And then consider choosing that.