The Macro and The Micro

There is a difference between the macro and the micro. The macro is the big picture. It’s the view of our life from the outside. It’s filled with generalizations. The micro is our life on the inside. It’s the day to day, minute by minute decisions and occurrences that are missed when you only see the big picture.

The macro is the view from our social media feed. It’s the images of Hawaii and hockey games, Globetrotters, and Florida. It’s the smiles and the perception of a normal family living a normal life.

The micro is the structure and planning that goes into every day that allows those experiences to happen. It’s the fallout after a game when he is too tired to regulate his behavior, or the next day when he is so tired that his routine is off and we have to start over from scratch.

The macro is seeing him leave the house with a backpack on his back heading to school. It’s math, and reading, and recess and lunch. It’s a science project or a school play.

The micro is how difficult school is for him and how he only goes for a few hours a week. It’s seeing the extra hours he puts in every day doing schoolwork and how hard he has to work trying to keep up with his peers. It’s falling behind socially and trying to make up for it in other ways. It’s 504 and IEP meetings, and lawyers to navigate a system that was not designed to support his needs.

The macro is a good job with the cool job title and working for a huge corporation. It’s the view from the tower.

The micro is the stress of a difficult job and wanting to succeed there while so much is happening at home. It’s traveling for work and being thousands of miles away, worried that I will be needed. It’s the pressure to constantly perform to keep it all together and an inability to turn it off. It’s the strain that puts on relationships. It’s the fear of it all tumbling down and losing it all.

The macro is the family living in the city, hip and trendy in a condo in the sky.

The micro is why. It’s living in the city to be closer to the hospital and the endless appointments. It’s needing to be closer to a public school that has to take him, whether they can support his needs or not. It’s removing as much maintenance from our lives so that we can fill the moments between appointments with joy instead of chores.

The macro is a kind, generous, happy kid that makes the world around him smile.

The micro is the lonely, sad, tired kid that struggles every day. It’s the kid that takes medicine three times a day that causes depression and behavior issues. It’s the kid that doesn’t have many friends and struggles to learn how to interact with the ones he does have. It’s three years on an impossible diet. It’s having things that he loves taken away because they were meant for a different life. It’s trying to figure out what is meant for this life.

The world around us is filled with these different perspectives. It’s a choice to see the world from above or to get down on our hands and knees to inspect what lies below the surface. Macro is the aggregate. Micro is the individual. Which one you see depends on where you are and which lens you choose to use to see the world.


Also published on Medium.

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