Last month, as I was driving to a neighboring county, I realized I would soon be passing by the house where my grandparents once lived. I still have memories of playing there as a child, of riding my bike up and down the driveway and watching bonfires in the backyard. But as I drove by, I was struck by the difference in what I was seeing compared to how I remembered it. And it wasn’t because the house or the land had dramatically changed—they hadn’t. Rather, it was in how what once seemed so big and expansive now seemed so much smaller.
Time changes our perspective. Although the house and land hasn’t changed much over the past 30 years, I have. I’ve grown physically, and accumulated many other experiences along the way. Instead of a young child, now I’m an adult with a house and children of my own. I still have found memories of the place, but now I see it from a totally different perspective.
This same thing occurs in all kinds of different ways. Just as it can happen with physical places we’ve been, it can also happen with the books we’ve read or films we’ve watched. Something that was once inspiring or engaging may no longer resonate with us in quite the same way it once did. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It may simply mean we’ve grown since that earlier time. We have a different perspective.
But this isn’t always the case. There are some things that seem to grow with us, like places and books and experiences we come back to that continue to resonate with us in deep and profound ways. Not because we haven’t grown, but because they were deep enough to begin with that we haven’t outgrown them. These are the kinds of things worth our attention.
And sometimes it’s our own growth that helps us appreciate them more. Take my memories of my grandparents. If anything, my own experience as a parent has led me to a deeper appreciation for all they did over the years. The property may look smaller than how I remember it as a child, but the depth of their love and sacrifice still seems as big as ever.