Breakage Illuminates Function

I have found, over the years, that when I break, lose or being denied access to something, I’ve had to rethink the value of that item. How can I meet the need it was fulfilling for me, but in another way?

This has saved me a lot of futile mourning and rewarded me with renewed joy.

My overseas travels are probably coming to an end. With the high costs of air travel, accommodations, food, travel insurance, etc., combined with the lower reliability of travel planning, my thinking is edging towards almost giving up those dreams. This led me to think about what travel really meant. What was the value of travelling for me?

Believe it or not, workers in the oil and gas careers helped me through this. As they struggle to find their identity outside their current employment, many slightly change their perspective. They see themselves not solely as oil and gas workers but as workers in the energy industry. Both points of view are correct, but the latter is more useful in times of rapid change.

The mental trick is to step back and broaden their perspective.

When I apply this approach to my situation – step back, blink, and change perspective, I see my travel opportunities meeting a broader need.

The value of my travels was to experience the intellectual history of my European roots up close. I put my fingers in the bullet holes of Pegasus Bridge, a key objective for the Landing on D-Day. I cried when I stood on the sands of Juno Beach, the landing site for Canadian Soldiers. I reflected on evil and goodness when I sat in my seat in the courtroom in Nuremberg, where Nazi leaders were tried for war crimes. I walked through the underground rooms where Churchill ruminated, assembling a chain of decisions that helped win WWII.

Stepping back, blinking and discovering a new perspective, I’m turning my interest to my Canadian roots. I’m a second-generation Canadian. It took me some time, but I understand and accept that I am a signer, by proxy, to the treaties made with Indigenous people. I have a stake in upholding my end of the bargain.

Part of that personal evolution is learning about the history and culture of the Indigenous people. I’ve read books by Indigenous authors, watched shows about their life, and tried to learn from their perspective of the world. The most significant concept that stays with me is planning how to support the next 7 generations.

I expect that I’ll find ways to continue to travel for a few more years yet. Living in western Canada provides me with so many opportunities. My curiosity will keep showing me the way. But the history and learning will have a decidedly different perspective.

Please give this a bit of a think. What is a sense of loss you have felt in the last year or so? How could you rethink where the value was before your loss? How could you look at it differently to find joy?

I’m curious about your thoughts. Please share your bit of a think in the comment section below. It will come to me for approval before posting.

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

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