I was standing on the apron at Station 62 watching the ladder retract when Captain Green asked, “You ever been up in that?”
“No.” I answered.
“You wanna?” he asked.
“Um…YEAH!” was my answer.
A 95-foot change in elevation is a change in perspective! North Marysville looks smaller. There are more trees left scattered in neighborhoods than I would have guessed. Traffic doesn’t look as bad as it does from behind the wheel at State and 100th.
A change in perspective can completely alter an experience. It can even change outcomes. As First Responders, you have been trained to understand this. When one approach to a problem isn’t working, you’ve got to change your point of view; look at it from a different angle and that new perspective can be the difference between life and death.
But a new point of view can change other kinds of outcomes too. Like worldview, self-image, personal satisfaction, and longevity.
“You see moments that were never intended to be viewed by strangers…”
You are beckoned into the worst day of someone else’s life on every shift. You see not only physical trauma and chaos but you see emotional, psychological and spiritual crisis…and you see it up close. You don’t step into homes after they have carefully prepared for your arrival, you see lives in candid snap shots, moments of reality that were never intended to be viewed by strangers…even welcome strangers.
You are collecting a series of these snapshots which slowly start form a narrative, a scrapbook of what “life” is like. What “people” are like. What “society” is like, and by extension, what you are like. It becomes your perspective.
Seeing the world (and yourself) from this perspective is an honor and a burden. A terrible burden. Therefore, surviving a 30 year career with a functional body, intact relationships and a non-f**cked-up brain is no easy task. But a regular change in perspective can greatly increase the odds that you succeed.
“Climb a ladder every now and and see the world from a different angle.”
Part of your strategy for staying healthy and effective should include intentionally “climbing a ladder” on a regular basis and looking at the world from a different angle:
- Take in a live theater, dance or music performance. Make it something you wouldn’t normally do. If you’re a country music fan, go to the ballet. If you’re an art snob, check out an open mic night at the local dive.
- Walk to the store, library or kid’s school instead of driving. Do it in different weather, at different times and in different seasons.
- Play the coin flip adventure game: Get in the car and at the end of the driveway, flip a coin. Heads you go right; Tails you go left. Every time you get to an intersection, flip the coin. Do this 20 times and see where you end up.
- Go to a youth sporting event that doesn’t involve your own kids.
- Go to church. You don’t have to commit, convert or continue…just go. If you already go to church, visit a different one.
- Go to a pet store, visit a zoo.
- Get outside…in nature. Not in an RV or on a machine, but on your feet. If you walk past trees, touch them. A river; put your hands in; if you’re at the beach and want to sit on a rock, choose the biggest one.
- On the silly side: sleep with your feet where your head normally rests. Sleep outside on your deck this summer. Rearrange the furniture in your living room. Wear a hat or shoes that will cause people to ask you about them.
Change your perspective. You need to be reminded that the world is not just BLS calls, transports, HOD’s and equipment checks. Yes…it is those things. But there’s so much more…
City of Marysville
1635 Grove Street, Marysville, Wa. 98270
I came across a friends post this morning, and while it is a short read I think it is remarkably accurate. We aren't to blame for the traumas that occur in our lives. We did not choose that type of heart ache, however, how we choose to respond is our decision. We have to hold ourselves accountable for OUR recovery and healing. Putting in the work to come out the other side and see your personal growth is truly a gift. The gift of helping someone going through something you can relate to, is YOUR calling.
I hope you enjoy! Happy 2020!
Trauma Is Not Your Fault, But Healing Is Your Responsibility
By Brianna WiestUpdated January 7, 2020
God & Man
"What happened to you was not your fault.
It was not something you asked for, it was not something you deserved.
What happened to you was not fair.
You were merely collateral damage on someone else’s warpath, an innocent bystander who got wrecked out of proximity.
We are all traumatized by life, some of us from egregious wrongdoings, others by unprocessed pain and sidelined emotions. No matter the source, we are all handed a play of cards, and sometimes, they are not a winning hand.
Yet what we cannot forget is that even when we are not at fault, healing in the aftermath will always fall on us — and instead of being burdened by this, we can actually learn to see it as a rare gift.
Healing is our responsibility because if it isn’t, an unfair circumstance becomes an unlived life.
Healing is our responsibility because unprocessed pain gets transferred to everyone around us, and we are not going to allow what someone else did to us to become what we do to those we love.
Healing is our responsibility because we have this one life, this single shot to do something important.
Healing is our responsibility because if we want our lives to be different, sitting and waiting for someone else to make them so will not actually change them. It will only make us dependent and bitter.
Healing is our responsibility because we have the power to heal ourselves, even if we have previously been led to believe we don’t.
Healing is our responsibility because we are uncomfortable, and discomfort almost always signals a place in life in which we are slated to rise up and transform.
Healing is our responsibility because every great person you deeply admire began with every odd against them, and learned their inner power was no match for the worst of what life could offer.
Healing is our responsibility because “healing” is actually not returning to how and who we were before, it is becoming someone we have never been — someone stronger, someone wiser, someone kinder.
When we heal, we step into the people we have always wanted to be. We are not only able to metabolize the pain, we are able to affect real change in our lives, in our families, and in our communities. We are able to pursue our dreams more freely. We are able to handle whatever life throws at us, because we are self-efficient and assured. We are more willing to dare, risk, and dream of broader horizons, ones we never thought we’d reach.
The thing is that when someone else does something wrong and it affects us, we often sit around waiting for them to take the pain away, as though they could come along and undo what has been done.
We fail to realize that in that hurt are the most important lessons of our lives, the fertile breeding ground upon which we can start to build everything we really want.
We are not meant to get through life unscathed.
We are not meant to get to the finish line unscarred, clean and bored.
Life hurts us all in different ways, but it is how we respond — and who we become — that determines whether a trauma becomes a tragedy, or the beginning of the story of how the victim became the hero."( Wiest, Brianna. 2020.https://thoughtcatalog.com/brianna-wiest/2019/10/trauma-is-not-your-fault-but-healing-is-your-responsibility/)
About the author
Brianna Wiest is the author of I Am The Hero Of My Own Life, Salt Water, and 101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think. Follow Brianna on Instagram or read more articles from Brianna on Thought Catalog.
Beyond the Gear is a informational place where firefighters and their families can read and take steps at living a healthier life. Healthy body starts with a healthy mind. I hope you enjoy.