Friday, January 17, 2014

"My" Spot

I have been parking in the same spot at work for over a year. Maybe even close to 18 months. I always journey to the highest level in the parking garage so that I can walk 5 flights of stairs to my work. I picked this parking spot the first day we moved to this new building and I have been parking there ever since. There are over a dozen parking spots in the area but almost no one else parks there. I suppose most people want to park as close to the door as possible. I prefer to be as far from the door and my office as possible. More exercise. 

Most days there is only one other car in the vicinity and they always pick the same parking spot as well.
Until this week.
Then it happened. 
The other car took my spot.
The audacity of some people!

My initial reaction was first surprise, then slight annoyance. After all, didn’t that person know this is my spot? I’ve parked here for over a year. That person has parked in their same spot for about the same length of time. What in the world possessed them to take my spot this week?!?! That reaction didn’t last long as I quickly realized what I was thinking and I rolled my eyes at myself and even chuckled a little. It’s not “my” spot. There are no parking assignments. There is no sign with my name on it that designates this spot as mine. I’m just a creature of habit who happens to park in the same spot every day.

And that gets me to thinking. In what other areas am I a creature of habit? Where have I gotten used to doing something in the same way every time? Now, habits are not inherently bad. I think it’s normal and even okay to have daily routines and habits throughout your day. But when those habits become so ingrained that you are not open to change….well, that might be an issue – such as with the example of my parking experience. So perhaps I need to ask myself some questions. Is this habit worth holding on to? Do I need to be open to change in this area? Perhaps there is more than one way of doing a task. Perhaps there is more than one place I can park in the morning. Perhaps I can be open to trying something in a new way.

Another thought this situation brings up is related to the idea of entitlement. Entitlement is an interesting thing. My initial reaction indicated a hidden sense of entitlement that I didn’t even realize that I was holding on to. I felt entitled to that spot simply because I had been parking there for so long. A daily choice had turned into feeling like I owned that spot. But I don’t. So now I must turn this reflection to other areas of my life. What do I feel entitled to? What do I feel that I deserve? This is a reflection to be continued…..

In the meantime, I need to say thank you to the owner of the gray Pontiac Vibe who parked in "my" spot. Thank you for causing me to think about entitlement.  Thank you for shaking me out of my habit. Thank you for breaking routine. 

(558 words)

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