Monday, January 1, 2024

Finding a "Fresh Perspective" for the new year


I am not someone who spends much time or mental focus on New Year's resolutions.  For me, they seem like fleeting whims that after a few days or weeks are forgotten in the business of calendar invites, zoom meetings, hectic schedules and unseen challenges that lie ahead.  It's in that somewhat "cynical" spirit, that I share the following resolution for 2024... its high time for some "fresh perspective" and I am going to work hard to have it start with me!

As I reflect of the year/years recently past, it is hard to find hope and possibilities amidst the nightmare of wars actively raging in Gaza and Ukraine... hard to see the "light" in the darkness of dramatic climate change issues challenging all countries... hard to see cooperation/compromise in a political landscape that is more focused on radical partisan ideologies than creating progress for the average family.... and the list goes on.  It is in this context that I look at the start of 2024 as a time for a new headset, or a "fresh perspective" not championed by others, but by yours truly!

From a dictionary's point of view: 

The phrase "a fresh perspective" is correct and usable in written English. You can use it to describe a situation in which someone adopts a different point of view, such as when considering a problem from a new angle or looking at an issue with renewed interest.

I am inspired and "nudged" into action by this headset and am heading into the new year looking for ways to shake off my traditional way of thinking about things and "work" on ways to "consider a problem from a new angle."  I emphasize the word "work," because I know that for me, it will not be easy to slow down my traditional headsets/perspectives.... to quiet my inside voice that is certain that it knows the right answer to so many things... "considering a problem from a new angle, or looking at an issue with a renewed interest" is never easy!

For me, I find it helpful to try some "tricks/games" to push my thinking or habits and to get myself out of my traditional patterns...and one such trick or habit is a restaurant game I learned years ago called "two up/two down."  It's a "game" I have played at family or team dinners over the years as a playful way to "break the ice" and to change up our normal habits and to push ourselves to try new things.  The game is simple enough... imagine a group at a restaurant table, menus in hand.  Everyone selects their entrees as normal, and allowing for any food allegories, the game commences!  I ask someone to pull out a dollar bill, and someone to pull out a quarter, ( in today's cashless world, I often come with the bill and coin in my pocket.)  I ask the person with the bill to tell us the first digit of the serial number on the bill ( lets imagines its a "2",) and for the person with the coin to flip it ... heads or tails.  If "heads," then EVERYONE finds their entree choice on the menu and goes "2 up" from it and that's their dinner order... inversely if the serial number of the bill had started with a "5" and the coin had flipped tails, then EVERYONE'S dinner choice would be "5 down" from their original order.  Its always a bit of mayhem when the person wanting a burger gets a chefs salad and other than one "ill-begotten" dish of Tripe, ( ouch, that was a smelly mess!!) the game is always worth a lot of chatter/laughs and it ALWAYS pushes folks out of their comfort zones in a very "low-stakes" environment.

I share this "game" as an idea that helps push us to consider things "from a new angle," or to try something on a menu that might never have been considered.  While a simple playful "game," I know that I will need to push myself to explore fresh perspectives to the challenges of our world in 2024...monumentally more difficult and more significant than an entree choice on a dinner menu.  I wish all of you a very happy 2024 and encourage all of us to work hard to find "fresh perspectives" to the problems of our world and our communities in the year ahead!

p.s., the image at the top is a sunrise photo from this morning, January 1, 2024 at our cabin in North Carolina... a chilly start to a new year filled with "fresh perspectives!"

p.p.s., I found that I had written about this "game" almost seven years ago, and about bringing it to life in an ice cream shop in Highlands N.C. with some dear friends and work partners... take a look:

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