Location. Location. Location. If it holds true for real-estate why not life? Think about it. What comes your way (both literally and figuratively) be it life lessons or plain and simple experience is predominantly determined by the space you occupy at any given moment.
Let me explain. I’ve flown a lot. On one flight I sat beside an “interesting” fellow. I noticed him even before we boarded the plane and hoped I wouldn’t have to sit beside him. I don’t really know why I felt this way except for the fact he seemed rather simple and, well, spastic. He had on a head set and Walkman circa 1986. The music was cranked and he continually bobbed his head to the beat of whatever music was playing. After he passed through security he made a point of telling the lady holding the scanning rod that he “didn’t make the machine beep even though he had coins in his pocket!” and proceeded to laugh maniacally. Sure enough my boarding pass had me sitting right beside him. In the long run he did end up having very good manners, was quiet and sat fairly still during the entire flight. I learned something important sitting where I was, that someone can go from freaky to friendly in fifty minutes. It was all a matter of perspective and I should never, NEVER make a judgement call so early out of the gate!
I’ve meet the most interesting people on airplanes. I’ve meet a television host, a rock musician, a Mexican world-class billiard player, a silver olympic medalist, a potter, an Irish sheep farmer and a fortune teller just to name a few. Maybe being confined in an itty bitty space subconsciously forces us all to preserve a sense of “wa” or else hurt each other, but every person was engaging, down to earth and willing to exchange friendly conversation maybe because fate had us in each other’s company. I would never have known the person next to me was an olympian unless I was open to conversation (she actually took her medal out and showed those of us sitting around her). I would never have learned about the social skills of sheep AND gotten a free Guinness tee-shirt if I hadn’t talked to the young Irish fellow beside me. This is where I think iPods do us a disservice. We are so quick to plug in our ear buds and ignore the entities around us because we feel it’s too much work to engage. When can we ever be totally illuminated by what we already know?
One of my childhood friends met her husband on a flight. They met in the line up for security. They hit it off, changed seats to sit by each other. talked the whole flight. and now they’re married with three kids. I haven’t met my future husband on a plane yet. but I think it’s because he’s sitting in first class. I’ll have to work on upgrading my ticket from economy just to give us a fighting chance. : )
My life has become all the richer just because of the relationships formed with the people I’ve sat beside.
Symbolically speaking, if you choose to sit in the splash zone in life you risk getting soaked and cold or revel in childhood silliness. If you choose to sit in front of the speaker at rock concerts you can envelope yourself in the music of the moment with maybe just acquire case of tinnitus. Sometimes the space in which we occupy was a matter of premeditation, other times fate. Whatever the case, it’s just another one of those times in life where there exists great potential for enrichment of experience if we allow it. And you never know, you just might get a husband out of it….
…or at least a free tee-shirt!