Last week, Ben and I decided to make the trek up to the Galleria mall on one of our mutual days off to use up one of his gift cards. As we made the drive north on Vandeventer to get onto I-40, I had a shocking realization: That intersection we had stopped at provided an incredible view of the downtown St. Louis skyline. We caught a breathtaking image of the Cathedral Basilica, and the other architectural beauties surrounding it by simply looking beyond what we are used to seeing.
When the light turned green, I suddenly felt a different type of emotion; one of freshness, or renewed perception. It is the same feeling I had when I first visited Denver, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and New Orleans, all of which invoked that emotion simply when I looked up at the skyline. So even by looking up in a city I am all too familiar with, I had renewed my love for it.
Even despite the painful job market right now, and all the woes that come along with it, I still manage to stay a generally happy person. Why? I exercise, eat right (as best as I can) and, most importantly, change things up once in a while.
I am not ashamed to admit that I am one of those people who would prefer sticking to the familiar and routine. Once I find something that works for me, I would stop at nothing to keep that consistency. But with that consistency comes a little feeling we all know called boredom. What some people might view as contentment with their surroundings and routines, could be mistaking it for boredom. Myself included.
One of my favorite movies of all time is Dead Poets’ Society, starring Robin Williams. As a more open-minded professor in a high-brow conservative private school, he encourages his students to stand up on his desk to see things from a different perspective. His purpose was to spawn new ideas and fresh points of view on the same tired old subjects.
This became a theme throughout the entire movie, and the key reason why it is one of my favorites. The movie inspired me to continue to look at things from different angles, even if they happen to be the angles I’m not familiar, or comfortable, with.
This new life philosophy has made a lasting impact on my life. When it came to planning events or discussing major issues on campus with other students, I knew I had to break through my own personal boundaries and biases to have a unique and successful outcome.
So every once in a while, I will change up what I do just to keep things interesting. Sometimes I’ll take a new route to work or the store, sometimes I’ll sit on the floor instead of the bed or couch, and sometimes I’ll stop myself from getting upset over things that usually bother me. It’s all about new perspectives, and it makes me feel like a new person each time I do it.
This could be the solution to our everyday problems. Let’s take the time to stand up on our desks once in a while, and take in the unfamiliar. By adopting that “tourist” mindset and looking up, we can uncover new perspectives, and become more open-minded and well rounded people as we go about our lives in this otherwise humdrum world.