Sometimes we just don’t notice the changes around us; like a wall that’s been painted a different color or things that we had “better notice” like our wife’s hair being styled differently. Unfortunately, these positive changes often go unnoticed and unappreciated. Maybe it’s because the changes are so subtle. (Well… except for that red wall)
The things that do catch our eye are often things that people wish we wouldn’t notice. The tiny (or huge) bandage on the face, the coffee stain on the tie or the dreaded “unzipped zipper” seems to get noticed by everyone. Like looking into the sun, once we’ve seen it there in front of us we can’t stop seeing “the problem” no matter how we try to distract ourselves, nor can we help but point it out.
When it comes to our City, the people that have been away for the summer seem more likely to notice the positive changes when they come back. My sister, for example, lives in New Jersey (it’s a long story) and quite often comes back “home” after being away for a year or so. Although she immediately gets lost, because her reference points look so different, she is always impressed with the lifestyle improvements in Bonita. But then, Julie still remembers digging the sand out of her ears after having to ride to the grocery store in the back of our Dad’s dump truck when we were kids. (Come to think of it… that probably has something to do with her moving to New Jersey)
Anyway, I think that those of us who live here year round are more likely to notice when the Cities “collective zipper” is down, when something is wrong, whether it’s a bad headline in the paper or garbage on the side of the road. Also, we’ve become such a part of our everyday surroundings that we miss the positive changes that occur around us. These physical changes gradually become our “new normal” without a corresponding adjustment in our perception or attitude about the improving conditions.
These perceptions, impressions and attitudes are stubborn in all of us. Once they are set, they are often set for good. Maybe there’s something strangely comforting about maintaining our old views and negative perceptions. I guess people that are so inclined are rarely disappointed; because they never have to admit that something has actually gotten better and of course they know that there will always be a stumble or incident along the way to “prove” them right.
Thankfully, there are also brave people that can look at and weigh new information, notice and acknowledge the positive changes around them and then translate that into a corresponding new or optimistic attitude. To allow yourself to grow and develop a new, fresh frame of mind that matches an evolving reality is risky business. But if we don’t allow ourselves to recognize and celebrate positive change… if we don’t become the biggest fans of our community… then who will?
My wife’s right… that red accent wall looks great!