It’s almost always a good thing to zoom out, to understand your life from a distance. In the middle of a few hectic days recently I lost my phone—what a pain. But from a zoomed out perspective, I’m lucky to have hectic days. I’m lucky that I can buy a new phone. And a year from now I won’t even remember any of this stress.
In our feature interview, Ari Wallach proposes zooming out even further, thinking about ourselves many years from now and even how we will shape the world when we’re gone. In the interview he talks about lifespan bias. When asking how to live a good, meaningful life, we humans tend to look only at the period between our birth and our death. “Ruled by the combo of a negativity bias and a lifespan bias, we don’t make basic decisions as well as we could. We don’t live as well as we could.” The proposal is to zoom out so far that we view our own life as a link in a chain. What can that perspective do for us? What can we do for the world when we acquire this perspective? The interview starts on page 36.
New perspectives can come slowly, without us even knowing. Or they can come in a flash. The exact phrase “aha moment” appears twice in this issue (a quirk sure to delight any editor), in Laurie Sue Brockway’s article on page 42 and in Sweta Vikram’s column on page 78.
Speaking of perspectives … every year we have a gift guide in our November/December issue. My theory is that our readers don’t want specific suggestions—an exact candle from a specific retailer at a specific price point—but instead might benefit from ideas that are more rooted in one person’s experience. A gift that was magical for one person might spark an aha! for our readers as they navigate gift-giving season. Our gift guide starts on page 52.
As always, let us know what you think about this issue. Send feedback, suggestions, or notes to [email protected].