Frame of Mind

This is a long one and I don't apologize. I've got stories to tell today.

So the other day I did something very silly and embarrassing. Really, it was more than just one day, I had been mistaken all week long. Long story short, I misread my flight information, and so I got to hang out in Riga airport for 12 hours longer than anticipated. Grant and I even discussed how crazy it was that we thought we had booked the same flights, and yet his was in the evening and mine was early morning, and somehow I still missed it. Then I got to RIX just before 4am and noticed my flight was nowhere to be found on any airport screens. Not trying to make excuses, but here's the confirmation email info I was looking at:

Now tell me that isn't confusing? First of all, who puts a 0 before a PM time, and then secondly drops the pm to the next row? 

Now I could choose to be bitter and annoyed for the rest of the day, or I could look at the bright side of things and be thankful I made it to the airport just slightly ahead of the suggested 2 hours before my international flight. A big thank you as well to the staff of the Latvian tour event in Saulkrasti, who put on a great tournament, and went above and beyond in keeping Grant and I well taken care of, including the elaborate task of airport transportation at the crack of dawn, no matter how unnecessary it ended up being. The cherry on top is that now I have plenty of time (and the intro I've been struggling to come up with) to write about a blog topic that's been on my mind of late. Perspective

I always find it interesting (and often comical) to see how two different people will react to the same situation. A scenario that would make someone fly off the handle with rage, might make another laugh hysterically, or a make a third person feel sick to their stomach. There might be multiple reactions by the same person, or none at all, but everyone will look at it just a little differently, and the decisions they make based on how they've framed that event will be unique to each person. 

I have another fairly recent story to share about perspective, and it involves my family, so I hope they're ok with me putting this story out there (I'll clear it with them first so if you're reading this that means it was ok). Not looking for sympathy or encouragement, just using a personal story rather than a volleyball one to illustrate my point this time around.

A little over a month ago, my brother got married. The wedding was on our family's property, where my younger sister, her husband, and their (at the time) 2 week old baby had their home. The day before the wedding, preparations were in full swing and by some chaotic twist of fate, Camille's house caught fire while a few of us were inside. My older sister, Milou, was the first to notice the flames, took charge immediately (As eldest siblings do), and things could have been a lot worse if not for her quick action. Of all the people there helping with set up, no one was hurt or even had any smoke inhalation despite many of us being in and around the house when it caught. 

We saved what we could, (including the car from the garage thanks to quick thinking by Milou's husband Tom) and then could do nothing but watch as the Rockyview, Calgary, and Airdrie fire fighters did an impressive job of preventing the fire from spreading beyond the house even into the surrounding trees on a very windy afternoon, but the house itself didn't stand a chance. I could go into more detail about the fire, and all the possessions that were lost. But that's not what matters. That's my perspective. What matters is how everyone dealt with what had just taken place. It's one thing to react in the moment to something, everyone involved that day mainly wanted to make sure everyone else was safe, with a priority on Camille and the baby. But it's what followed that shows how our perspectives can completely turn a situation around.

Now needless to say, grief was present for some, but only about how others were feeling. My family is an empathetic bunch.
Dustin felt terrible for Camille, he thought that his wedding had burned my sister's house down.
Camille felt terrible for Dustin, She thought that her house burning down had ruined my brother's wedding.
Milou and I did our best to let them know that everyone is still ok, and possessions can be replaced.
This sentiment was embodied by Camille's husband, Brendon, who wasn't around at the start of the fire, but when he got there, his only thoughts were about his family. I still don't know if his lost belongings have even crossed his mind.
I think the point of the day that really pinpointed the shift in perspective came from a conversation I overheard between Maid of Honour and Bride to be: "Something terrible happens at every wedding. Well this was it. It can only get better from here" 
Within a short period, we were no longer the victims of a tragic accident, and were once again preparing for celebration.

By the end of the night, the property was wedding ready, essential supplies for the baby had been replaced (thanks to my gf, Emily), and even some new clothing for Camille, Brendon, and myself (I had coincidentally been doing laundry in the house at the time) would be donated by Lululemon.

The next day I left to play in Itapema

I can't speak for everyone's thoughts that evening, but as I reflected upon the events of the day, all I could think was how thankful I was. Thankful that everyone was ok. Thankful to have a family that supports each other through hardship, and friends that will jump to help us when we are in need. Thankful to Lululemon (and especially Michelle Davies), for the quick help in a tough situation. Thankful to my parents, for being a safety net, when tragedy strikes. And thankful to all the bridesmaids, groomsmen, their families, and all others involved that weekend for having the strength of mind to look beyond hardship, and towards happiness. Finally, thankful to my new brother in law (Nadyne's brother, does it work that way? Are we brother's now too?), Kalvin, who made sure we got Porta-potties for the next day, the best crappiest wedding gift of them all.

The wedding was wonderful. Dustin and Nadyne looked amazing, spoke passionately and eloquently  and everything went without a hitch. I think everyone's newfound perspective on life only made it that much more sentimental. The firefighters even came back the next day to let the bride and groom take some memorable wedding photos with the fire engine. Camille also wants me to let everyone know that the baby Khalil (aka lil Monster) and her dog Lenny are still happy and healthy. I hope the experiences had at this wedding will be remembered by all. The good and the bad. It's these moments that help mold our perspectives, and allow us adapt during future times of stress. 

Wedding photos courtesy of carleebphotography.canada

If I play a bad match, will I get upset and frustrated about what went wrong? or will I focus on what I can improve?
If I'm in school and worried about deadlines and tests, will I stress about what I haven't completed? Or put my mind power towards what I can get finished or what I can study next?
If I show up 14 hours too early for a flight, will I sulk and have a frustrating day? Or will I try to find something to occupy my time, like perhaps, a blog?

It's a fascinating thing how looking at something in a different light can completely change a mood or motivation. No one has the same upbringing or background as anyone else, so it's not always easy to do. If you can reframe a bad situation into an easier to digest thought process, though, it often makes a big difference. Perspective is a powerful thing.

Ben Jammin

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