Monday, 22 October 2012

Just so we're clear

It’s funny how spooky little coincidences come your way to highlight whatever is going on in your life. I had a string of these recently. First, I was having trouble with my eyes. I couldn’t seem to focus and no matter which way I held my book or my head, all the words were an irritating blur. Off I went to the optometrist who announced that my eyesight had in fact improved and as a consequence I needed new glasses. Hmmm… Then the television picture played up. It was fuzzy, lacked definition and pixilated like crazy. Many technicians and several complex network interventions later, the screen came into sharp focus like a new set minus the expense. Lastly, on my wall hung posters; originally calls to bright holiday destinations. In these, the print had paled to deathbed grey, the names of the locations obliterated by years of sun exposure. As I’m wont to do, I mused on the common theme in these events. I realized that they were reflections of a wider problem, not just being unable to see things clearly but of also being unwilling to so. It made sense, because once you see a problem clearly you're compelled to fix what you can or risk just talking about ‘the problem’ forever and never sorting it out. But change is uncomfortable. That’s why most of us avoid it. It took some action to get back the sharp television images, the bright hues of the new posters and the well-formed letters on the page. Then it took some getting used to.

I decided that there are things for which we need always keep our eyes open: our behavior and its consequences, the quality of our relationships and friendships, our role in making the world a little better, our work and its contributions. When those images become fuzzy and ill-defined, it’s time to step up and make changes. Hard as it is, sometimes we need the paradox of improved eyesight first before the subsequent new glasses. When the image before us stops breaking up, we realize that hanging too long in the same space does nothing to get us to our destination, instead we risk becoming faded and jaded. So we fix and we cull and we edit and we change and in that uncomfortable continuum things become clear once more.