Today we spent the day in Niagara Falls.
After stopping briefly at an outlet mall, we spent most of our day in a hotel room overlooking the falls.
There were about 20 people in the room – cousins, aunts, uncles, my mother, my brother, my stepfather, and my grandfather.
My grandfather turned 97 today.
I don’t spend a lot of time with my grandfather anymore. When he used to live around the corner, I used to see him once a week. The kids were babies and I would bring them over for afternoon snack and tea or we would take my grandfather out for lunch and drive him around the neighbourhood to run errands. He would come out of his apartment, wearing his fedora with his lists and his coupons.
Today he sat by the window and enjoyed the view – the falls on one side and his great-grandkids laughing and playing on the other side. Today he was happy. I sat and watched him be happy.
I used to track growth linearly. I was there at point A and now I am here at point B. A destination. But as I watched my grandfather today, I know that measuring life that way misses the mark. Real growth is not measured by the years that have passed by. It is measured by the change in perspective.
A few years ago, I couldn’t imagine having my family spend an entire day inside a hotel room. A few decades ago, I couldn’t have imagined my grandfather being happy sitting for hours watching his great-grandkids play.
If we are willing, we can change, we can soften, and we can see things differently.
If you are following my little self-reflection challenge for the next week, here is your second prompt, the second step in choosing a one word intention/theme for next year:
Have you been able to see something differently over the course of this year? A relationship? An event? Yourself? How has this helped or hinder your growth? Is there one particular thing in your life that you are afraid to see or wish you could see in a different light? Why?