A Change in Perspective

Photo by Tom Stone

I often find that it’s difficult to be content with what I have in life. It’s too easy to focus on what you don’t have - a new car, a bigger house, that shiny new MacBook Pro - and forget about how much you do have. Modern society doesn’t make this any easier, particularly in the geek culture where something you must have comes along every few seconds it seems.

The reality is, I’m fabulously wealthy. I mean, I’m no Warren Buffet, but compared to the rest of the planet, I have more than enough.

I drive a 10 year old car, but there are millions of people who have no car at all. Millions who would be happy to have a car, any car.

I have a laptop computer that’s 4 years old, and has seen better days. But there are millions who don’t have any computer at all, and would be excited at the thought of having mine.

I’d love to have a bigger house - who wouldn’t? With two young boys, you can never really have too much room. But there are millions who live in houses a fraction of our size, many that aren’t what most of use would even consider houses. There are millions more who are homeless, and would consider any kind of shelter to be a gift from God.

I struggle with this a lot - trying to be content with what I have. Perhaps it’s just human nature to always want more. Perhaps it’s a reality of modern life - we’re being conditioned to not be satisfied with what we have.

I thought of this again today, as I came across (via kottke) a collection of photos on Flickr by photographer Tom Stone. Tom is known for photographing the homeless and others “living along the edges of society”. Looking at his photos of people living on the streets of San Francisco, and reading the stories that go along with them isn’t easy. They’re pretty stark and depressing, but it reminds me once again of just how much I have, and how blessed I am.