Sunday, February 23, 2014

Putting it in context........

I recognize context better now. As a younger person, I had never  faced some experiences that have now happened to me multiple times in the course of my sixty-plus years. We learn from those experiences, at least  if we're paying attention.

Driving to the mountains of North Carolina from Florida for the first time should have been a piece of cake. It's only 8 hours or so, and I once drove from Florida to Colorado in a little over 48 hours, so no worries. Right? The only problem was that we arrived after dark. An unknown location, at the top of a mountain ridge reached only after putting the car in 4-wheel drive and inching up a narrow, one lane road to the top. The person who owns the cabin told us "It's the sixth cabin from the top of the ridge" and it was very dark that night. (Go ahead; think about that for a minute. I can see your face now.....)

Put that trip in context and I've never tried it again. We leave home in the morning one day, stay overnight along the way, and then finish the trip the next day, when the sun is still out and I can see well enough to navigate up that ridge where the cabin is located.


It also raises its head when those who don't have the longevity we enjoy try to pull a fast one on us. We understand context when a 30-something personal trainer makes continued excuses for being late for appointments (for which I was paying him well), with things like, "Oh, I lost track of time" or "I didn't realize it would take so long to get my hair cut" or "Did you know I went back to school? I was studying for a test and forgot about the time." (In other words, he forgot about his customer, completely or simply irresonsibly, or both.) And the excuses always came along with him AFTER he showed up late for every appointment....yes, EVERY one. Sometimes he never showed up at all.

The context is rich with meaning. He didn't call ahead of time to say something like, "My little one is sick today and I have to take her to the doctor" or a similar reason that, within the context of our own experiences in a life replete with them, makes sense and everyone has had happen at some point.

Context matters. And we get much better at putting life in it as we age. We also hold others accountable within the context of a situation, too.

We are old(er) and we aren't to be toyed with.

I now have a new personal trainer, by the way.

Context, context......

“Reality is not a function of the event as event, but of the relationship of that event to past, and future, events.” 
Robert Penn


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