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What If?

One of the biggest questions that seems to haunt humanity is the question, what if? There’s something about thinking about that question that can bring us great joy or great sadness, it all depends on the question. Psychology calls this “counterfactual thinking” because we imagine scenarios that have already happened and change the outcome in our minds. In other cases, we also use it in a future tense, along the lines of “what if I win the lotto this weekend” and then begins our wonderful fantasy of everything we would do with our winnings.

Counterfactual thinking only looks at occurrences that have already happened, and what could have happened. For example, in honor of everyone graduating soon, when it was coming up on my graduation from UNF, I began to wonder “what if.” What if, I had gone to USF, like I considered? Well, for starters, I wouldn’t have met all the wonderful people that I did at UNF, I wouldn’t be able to call the same group of leading, inspiring women my sisters, and I wouldn’t have had the same experiences that shaped me into the woman I am today. In other cases, we sometimes wonder what if we had acted differently. What if, after the fight, I had talked to him, rather than just letting it be over? What if, after she confessed her feelings, he had done the same rather than shut down? Unfortunately, with counterfactual thinking, unless we have some parallel universe versions of ourselves, we will never know the actual answer to these questions. But they are great for making us ponder what has happened, and where we are in life right now, and think about the path that directed us there.

On the other hand, for that future what if thought, there’s still something we can do about it. It’s something that hasn’t happened yet, and you’re the pilot of whether you follow through on some of it. What if I tell him how I feel? Well, if you follow through on that, there are two scenarios: he either likes you back and shares that, or he doesn’t feel the same way and you most likely suffer some embarrassment. Let’s face it, putting ourselves out there is not fun AT ALL, but if no one ever put themselves out there, everyone would be alone (at least now, in the days of arranged marriages, that probably wasn’t a deciding factor). So yeah, there’s a possibility that it could go badly, but there’s another possibility that it could go great. What if, he likes you too, and that’s how your love story begins? Then, you’re one step closer to your happily ever after.

One thing that I’ve learned lately is that life is too short. So if you’re wondering “what if…” and it’s something you can control, then go for it! If you’re sitting there imagining your life if you did this or tried that, then try it! You never know if you never try. And sure, it could turn out badly, or it could turn out great. That’s never stopped us before. With any situation, it could go bad or it could be the best thing ever to happen to you. Unfortunately, unless you can see the future, there really is no way to know without trying. Now, if you’d rather go back and counterfactually think on it, that’s your choice. Or, you can take a chance, and go for making your what if your new reality.

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T

So one thing that bothers me to no end is seeing the general lack of respect that human beings seem to have towards one another. Usually, I am a big believer in respect being earned, but I also have been raised to respect those around me. Whether that’s respecting their opinions if I disagree, or respecting them because they are older, that’s just some good old fashioned raising that I had, and it definitely bothers me when I don’t see others respecting people.

You may be wondering what brought this to light. We have a family friend who has a son who we have do odd jobs around the house for us. We always give him some cash for his time, and in return, it’s expected that he do the job correctly, and have respect for the stuff around him, including us. Now, I can get over someone near my age disrespecting me, that’s fine. What I can’t get over is someone near my age disrespecting my parent. That is a line that I will not allow to cross. This guy has always been disrespectful to me, treated me like I’m an idiot princess who knows nothing, whereas he knows everything. Again, for the most part, while it irritates me, I can ignore it. Well, the other day he decided to drive his vehicle through our yard and park it in the yard, not only tearing up the grass, but also destroying a sprinkler in the process. When he was asked to move the vehicle, he decided to inform us that he knew better, and it wouldn’t do anything to the yard and he had missed the sprinkler because he had done it before. That’s right, he came over when we weren’t home and did what he wanted on our property. Maybe I’m wrong, but seems like a complete lack of respect to me. And then, to ignore someone telling him to get off the yard. That’s pretty disrespectful in itself, not to mention, extremely destructive. Well, when he deemed he was able to move his truck, so translation, when he had pretty much finished what he was doing and decided he actually could walk 5 steps to the truck rather than having it right there, he moved it. And then continued to be disrespectful with how he spoke to both me and my mom.

Now, I know when I do odd jobs for people, whether it was helping my neighbor pack up her house to move or helping my Gram around her house, I am always very respectful of their wishes. If they don’t want me to do something a certain way, I change how I’m doing it. The reason I do this is because it is not my property or possessions, it’s theirs. And if I don’t have some respect for their ownership, then who’s to say I have respect for anything. Of course, I’ve had some times when I haven’t been the most respectful, who hasn’t but to continuously do so? No, that’s not how I was raised, and it’s certainly not how I act. That’s why as a kid, I stayed out of my neighbor’s yards, I stayed away from their vehicles, and I was never rude to any of them. Whether I knew them or not, I was taught to be polite, and respect boundaries. Now, in some cases, people are taught these same values and decide to ignore them. I truly believe in this case, arrogance has taken the lead and wiped out any good lessons that were given.

The saddest part is, rather than helping, he has now created more work for me, which last time I checked, was the opposite of helping. The whole point was so that we could focus on other stuff, while this one task got done. Now there are more tasks, in addition to finishing the one task, because goodness knows that didn’t actually get done. It would take more than working for an hour to complete a task of that size.

No matter what though, I just like to take this as a lesson and a reminder. A lesson that no matter what you are taught, clearly not everyone is going to act the same way. It also was a lesson in patience, as I definitely needed to stay patient and calm, rather than yelling and screaming, which trust me, I wanted to do. This situation then reminded me of how I was raised, and how I want to continue to act that way, and raise my own kids that way someday. It’s also a good reminder to treat everyone with respect, whether you think they deserve it or not. It’s not difficult.

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