Stream-of-Consciousness: Perspective
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Health and Wellness

Stream-of-Consciousness: Perspective

Stream-of-Consciousness is the professional way to say "rambling".

Stream-of-Consciousness: Perspective
Miguel Rodriguez

I begin this stream of thoughts with a brief explanation on war tactics.

In any war, the most powerful side isn't the one with the biggest gun, but rather the one with the most information. Knowledge is the greatest sword, as it provides its wielder the ability to see when and where to block or strike, or when to back off or press onward. Before any real combat happens with the shooting and the running and the exploding, intel is gathered via stealth operations and surveillance or a plane up above will provide real-time updates on enemy positions, effectively the all-important eye in the sky. In short, Oka Nieba (the Sky Eye) provides perspective.

Perspective: "A particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view." It is how we experience the world. Events, people, actions: really everything is seen through a lens of some sort. A small dog will have a different view of their owner than a lion would. Someone on a rooftop would see how many blocks a march occupies, while someone participating in the march may describe the same sight as "stretching as far as the eye can see." Girls and boys might have different viewpoints on basically everything, dads and daughters may not agree on the appearance of a particular boyfriend. Perspective. Back in high school, when asked for help regarding a relationship, I would usually be able to haggle together some advice or food for thought that turned out to be rather helpful, despite the fact that I've never had a romantic relationship up to that point. Devoid of such a pleasure, how is it that I was able to help others, despite my lack of experience? The answer is perspective. What I lacked in experience I made up for with- you guessed it- perspective. The only advantage I had (and only one I needed) was distance from the emotional storm my friends were going through, enabling me a different vantage point of the situation and thus the analytical capability to see what was going on in actuality, as well as what needed to be done.

I believe that the ability to distance oneself from their problems and look at it as an outsider would is an underrated skill. If you imagine for a moment someone who goes to therapy, arguably the reason that the therapist is so good at her job is because she can see clearly what's going on and what must be done. As a concrete example let's use yours truly. I've been depressed for as long as I can remember, and not too long ago I started going to therapy sessions to help manage my feelings, or lack thereof. Before, I would attempt to solve my problems on my own, using what I felt was right and foolishly claiming that they were objective, sound conclusions. This failed miserably, and actually led to a series of actions and behaviours that served to drive me deeper into my mental turmoil. I had no perspective, and what I believed to be self-evident truths was simply wrong. Reality was skewed for me, and I needed someone who could see what was going on in a different light than I did.

Perspective is the same reason that we get so riled up when watching a horror movie and accuse the characters of being morons and running back into the house with the murderer inside. To us, the viewers with no emotional attachment to the victims and no real consequences to our decisions, answers always seem clear. Fight the bad guy, don't go into the dark corridor, avoid looking into mirrors for more than 2 seconds, and never split up the group. However, if we pretend for a moment that the characters on screen are real, the characters don't have the luxury that we do. They're in the heat of action, and anyone who's ever been stressed before knows full well that when we are being pushed against a wall and struggling, logic tends to fall out and we turn to gut instincts. Think like, dead week and finals week. We all turn into robots doing no more than eat, study, repeat.

When I first came to this campus I immediately fell in love with every aspect of it, and every day until move in of my freshman year I was giddy with excitement. Fast forward a year and what was once excitement and happiness was replaced by lethargy and "ugh, I have to go to class now." Life had become humdrum. Boring. Dull. Monotonous. Empty. My health had taken a steep decline and I began to feel lifeless and found no pleasure in anything. I was lost, and instead of having a handle on my life I was following steps that merely sounded right.

I was alive, but I was not living.

I made the decision to take a quarter off and allow myself to take a step back and reevaluate my life. It was tough, but I had to pull me aside and tell myself that this had to happen: that I simply couldn't handle the rigors of university and big life choices simultaneously. I had to find a new perspective and look at life, not from within its chaos and focusing on one small detail at a time, but from far away and seeing the whole picture. Past, present, and future, applying an omnipotent hand and sorting out kinks and tying up loose ends I had neglected for a long, long time.

I write about this today while standing over the bright blue ocean at beautiful UC Santa Barbara, the sun kissing my face and the smell of clean wind tickling my soul. A small smile creeps onto my face as I feel someone's hand grasp mine; someone who I once knew but had long since had contact with. I say hello to that old friend, who goes by the name Happiness. Walking through campus, I see hundreds of faces of varying emotion. Happy, determined, hungover, relaxed, high, sleepy. Having distanced myself from the stress of exams and getting my degree (which will be complained about next week), I've come to realize that things are much more beautiful if you simply take the time to appreciate it.

I've rambled long enough, and since I'm very bad with segues I'll get right to the point.

We each have our own way of getting through the world. We see things, we smell things, we touch things, and so on. We aren't perfect and more than likely we will never be perfect. We will stumble and we will fall, and there are times where we trip and hit the ground so goddamn hard we don't want to get back up. It's at these moments that I urge us to take a step back. Accept that you're on the ground but don't accept that you've been defeated. Instead, take a look at yourself. take a look around you. Look ahead, above, below, behind, and to the sides. If you need to, ask someone to look around for you and tell you what they see.

All too often, we become engrossed with completing the path that we've chosen and are unwilling to change tracks when really the best thing we can do is to get off of the train we're on, take a meaningful look at the other stations, and hop onto a new train.

To quote Tadashi Hamada of Big Hero 6, "Look for a new angle!"


What a fascinating concept.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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