Perspective

Molly - Oakland, California
Entered on March 30, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe that everyone needs perspective. For me, perspective is necessary for happiness. For me, perspective is looking at San Francisco from a hill across the bay in Oakland, with lights shining from far away. I am chilly from the night air and goose bumps cover my neck and arms, but the view is beautiful and mesmerizing. Distant silhouettes of buildings in San Francisco, the curve of the Bay Bridge, which connects Oakland to Yerba Buena to San Francisco, and the rising and falling red arches of the Golden Gate Bridge give a postcard image to the Bay Area. Although I have seen these images so many times before, they never cease to capture my attention and distract me from my problems. There is something about looking out from the top of a mountain, seeing so far in all directions that gives one a sense of amazement, humility and also an overwhelming calm. I am relaxed when I see how large the world is because it makes all my problems feel so much smaller.

I have learned from assignments in art class that it is important to use perspective, when sketching objects from within a box. You make objects in front much larger than the objects in back because that is how they appear in space. If everyone’s life were in a box, the objects in front would be their personal problems, consuming most of their time and thoughts and the objects in back would be the problems of the world. It’s important to realize that when you remove all the contents from the box, some objects we place in the background are actually larger than the objects we devote so much attention to in front. A moment of perspective is seeing every object in its actual size.

Watching the documentary “Born in Brothels,” which depicts the lives of children born into brothels in India, I am also reminded of perspective. Some movie can give us a chance to see different lives and cultures. I forget about my own life when I see a film about abducted children or genocide. I start thinking only about those people, how they felt, what they chose and why. Why are some people born with so much and others so little? Having perspective makes us think about the world, about the universe; it is a selfless act. It motivates people to ignore their petty problems, to help others and to see the world in its entirety.

I do not want to imply that I am always thinking about others in the world and putting myself in perspective because that is entirely untrue. Most of the time I am self-absorbed and thinking about what I want, what I don’t have, and how I’m going to get through the week. However, for the brief moments I do have perspective, I feel rewarded and privileged to be alive. I have so much more freedom and power than other people in the world and it’s not fair and there is no reason why I should but the fact that I do is something I appreciate. I can do something with this privilege and this freedom. I plan to.