Zooming in, zooming out onto a scene with your camera or to assess details on a design project is an outstanding analogy to the necessity of our needing at times to get an overview of what's happening in our lives—but the wider view can be as deceptive as a zoomed-in macro shot.
I take a lot of photographs with my digital camera. It produces smudge-free images that don't have the artifacts we used to get with photographs physically printed from the camera store, drugstore, or photo kiosk. Besides enjoying my 21st photographic adventures, I've scanned and digitized many analog photos; along the way I've discovered near-countless techniques for enhancing color and exposure, and I've learned to zoom in to Photoshop's max 1600% if I want results that will print well. I've also scanned and digitized some of my analog art and design from way back when: top image is a design I'm in the process of making into a pdf that will print optimally and a jpeg that will look awesome on any screen. Does it look pretty good so far? The wide view does, but the zoomed-in version shows my editing has a distance to go.
Sometimes we have days, weeks, or months when we get that persistent feeling whatever can go wrong, has gone wrong. A semi-objective friend, a good psychotherapist, or even our own past journal entries can help us see that we're in a rough spot now, but what a difference from two years ago! Maybe we've achieved most of the personal, professional, and spiritual goals we'd set. Zooming in, it's clear some necessities need to be taken care of, but to employ another cliché, this still is a sea change! The photographic analogy is as good as a comparison gets!
"Sea change" describes my current situation as I glance back twice:
!. Two years ago in Previous City and realizing how much more functional I am with everything everyday. Struggling? Yes, struggling and straining a fair amount a lot of the time. Maybe you know the optimal, balanced, strained, burnout, breakdown taxonomy? The last few years in Previous City I slowly decompensated and spiraled down close to total breakdown, but with my public self-presentation always fairly competent, and with my literally impoverished speech when it comes to talking about myself (I've never been able to say much about myself even in psychotherapy or counseling), no one would have known it and my attempts to tell people did not get through at all.
2. Then in Current City about fifteen months ago, I already was doing better professionally and socially, but had an underlying current of deep grief. So overwhelming that most nights I went to bed and tried to get to sleep quite early, a couple hours before actual roommate got back. I knew she liked to ask about my day and tell me about hers, but I feared I'd die of grief if I didn't shut out reality until morning with sleeping and dreaming.
Broad view tells me everything about my life is going better now! Teaching adult SS every week and the welcome the church I attend has given me both have helped immensely. Rave reviews from design clients have helped my confidence and optimism! What's yet amiss? I haven't found long-term housing yet; my attempts to become involved with the group of inner city congregations that was almost my entire purpose in relocating to Current City have gone nowhere. When I zoom in closely I notice smudges and artifacts I want to, need to work on obliterating. The process isn't all that different from doing a Photoshop edit: attend to one small detail at a time, zoom out to assess how it looks now, zoom in again, attend to any area for a while. As a whole I've moved from near breakdown into strained on the middle of the scale. Balanced will be coming soon, I trust!