Skip to content

Fleeting Perspective


I heard an NPR segment earlier this week featuring Suleika Jaouad, the author of the New York Times Well blog column, “Life Interrupted.”  Two years ago, at the age of 22, Suleika was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia; she is now cancer free.  In the segment (you can read the transcript here), she talks about how it feels to “re-start” her life…or as she calls it, her “new different” (versus “new normal”).  One quote really stuck out as I listened to her interview:

I’ll never go so far to call cancer a gift. It’s a really terrible disease. But like any life-interrupted moment, there are silver linings. And I feel like in the past year, for the first time – I like this expression – that I’ve been able to make my mess my message. And I’ve taken a lot of joy in that. I feel like I have a better sense of who I am and who I want to be and what’s important to me. And I’m very grateful to have that newfound awareness now.  I feel incredibly appreciative of my friends and my family. I try very hard to find meaning in the work that I do. And that emphasis and finding purpose has made me a happier person, I think, overall.

Stories like Suleika’s abound…people going through an intense experience that changes the way they think about their life…about life in general.  Every time I come across one of those stories, or see someone or something that puts life into perspective, I’m overcome with a deeper sense of awareness and gratitude for all the good and all the challenges life brings along…for all the screaming moments and all the chubby-handed hugs…for the fog and the sunshine…for the slow runs and the faster ones…for the easy conversations and the tough ones…for all of it.

But all too often, this feeling is fleeting – giving way to sweating the small stuff and taking things for granted.  As I think about this, I’d love any ideas about what helps you keep an eye on the big picture…

What helps you keep things in perspective?  Do you have any daily practices that help you remember that everything we experience in life is relative?

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Honestly, I know this sounds astoundingly cliched(!), but having a kid has really helped me hone and narrow (in a good way) my life. I simply don’t have time for things that don’t matter, so I don’t do them (unless they are things I MUST do – like pay bills. Ha). Otherwise, things get cut. And that’s ok. In fact, that’s grand 🙂 Because I am old enough to know that whether I catch that bad TV show, or whether I go to that baby shower and that lunch, WON’T MATTER in the end. As for keeping things in perspective — I feel like when you have a child, you really CAN’T sweat the small stuff or you’re go nuts. I’ve actually learned to let go a little in a way that’s really been liberating for me.

    June 17, 2013

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Alphabet Scramble

Learning from parenting and life, while trying to get dinner on the table

The Lemonade Chronicles

A quixotic quest for the bright side.

mamajamas mom

don't sweat the baby stuff

Marla Gottschalk

Work Life & More

The Development Sherpa

by SBK & Associates


hacking health, designing life


Rudey's Room

Building Customer Driven SaaS Products | Jason Evanish

Posts with strategies and tactics on building great products and how to be a better leader

The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss's 4-Hour Workweek and Lifestyle Design Blog. Tim is an author of 5 #1 NYT/WSJ bestsellers, investor (FB, Uber, Twitter, 50+ more), and host of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast (400M+ downloads)

Reflections Corner

hacking health, designing life

The Marginalian

Marginalia on our search for meaning.

Greater Good: Parenting & Family

hacking health, designing life

%d bloggers like this: