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Through the View Finder

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Guest post by author Jenna Victoria:

One of the more intriguing observations of life is how perspective can change our attitude.  It amazes me when a negative situation or circumstance does not change, but our reaction or management of it undergoes a transformation that enables us to accept, or even embrace, what is happening.  Life is funny that way.

Back when my husband of six years first bought a GPS device for my car as a birthday gift, I was silently dismayed.  What’s next, I thought, a toaster or a vacuum cleaner?   I sighed and stared at the small black box, trying to put on a happy face. Yes, the honeymoon was over.  Our days of expensive boxes of candy and roses had passed, it seemed.  Yet, in my spouse’s mind, it was the perfect birthday gift for me.

I hadn’t grown up in the area of the country where we lived, and I would often begin early morning phone calls to him at work by saying, “Can you go onto Map Quest? I am lost!”  He knew I often became exasperated with bumper to bumper traffic on the way to my own job, and I typically tried to exit the highway to “follow my nose” in hopes of finding a less congested route to work.  I did this, forgetting what another wise man in my life, my Dad, always said about my sense of direction: “I couldn’t drive my way out of a paper bag.”  (Hence the “Honey can you go onto Map Quest?” calls).

In hubby’s view, the GPS would end these last minute request for guidance.  Not that he minded my frustration-laden calls, he explained, but he might be in a meeting and unable to answer me right away.  The GPS would provide him with a measure of peace, as I had been known to end up in some pretty dicey areas as I followed my proboscis.

Then I discovered something remarkable.  I am an avid (addicted) tag sale shopper.  I realized the GPS was a lifesaver, as I tried to follow yard sale signs.  BINGO!  I made the connection that changed my perspective.  I would never again be thwarted by garage sale posters on a telephone pole that failed to include a helpful arrow pointing me in the correct direction.  After all, who knew what treasures I had been forced to forego, over the years, each time I hadn’t been able to locate a yard sale ?

I could have hugged that GPS.  Instead, I settled for assigning a British accent to the mechanical voice of the unit, which endeared it to me all the more.  See, my attitude did a 380-degree turn, because of my perspective.  What I had perceived as having no value, then became priceless.  Now, I cannot imagine going on a car trip without my “Bert”.

Another change in perspective actually helped me improve my daily word count, as an aspiring author. This also relates to my car, but in a different way.  Rather than Bert and I going on a journey to find the end of a rainbow, aka an estate sale, I did end up using him on my commute. It’s an hour long each way,  a miserable, rolling parking lot of a trip.  And if you add rain, snow, sleet or high winds to the commuting equation, the length of the trip slows to even more maddening dimensions.  To make it clear – I absolutely loathed my commute.  Even Bert’s melodious veddy-veddy proper English tones failed to help me navigate the rising stress levels.

Then another gift from my husband came to the rescue: A mini voice recorder.  Using the hands free attachment, I discovered I can write in my car. I can dictate scenes, envision my story world, work out dialogue, or leave research reminders on the recorder while I am driving (safely, of course). I keep my focus on the road where it belongs, but similar to listening to the radio while driving, I can compartmentalize a bit of my brain power towards something useful.

Instead of feeling my blood pressure rise, I arrive at my destination having accomplished demonstrable progress on my manuscript.  My perspective has changed. I now view that uninterrupted time in the car as a gift, and not a curse.

I often remind myself of these two examples, and try to look at a life situation through a different lens. If I can alter my perception, I can often alter my final outcome.

As Bert might say, “That’s a jolly good show.”

See you on the highway.


Visit Jenna Victoria: Jenna lives on the eastern side of the United States, with her Prince Charming husband of ten years who daily inspires her to write about true love and perseverance.


About Jess Keller

I'm an author, speaker and chocolate eater who's chasing hard after my dreams.

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