Saturday, February 11, 2012
Expanding My Space
Today was one of those days where my act of kindness was small and probably went largely unnoticed. Yet, in some ways, it's an important part of what this year is about. Let me explain what happened and then why it's important.
I went out to dinner this evening with my sister, her husband, and her mother-in-law. When we arrived at the restaurant we learned that it would be a 35-40 minute wait, so we stood outside enjoying the pleasant evening. People kept pulling up to the curb in front of the restaurant where valets would take their keys and park their cars. At one point, I saw the valet pull out and run over a parking cone, which then got stuck on the car's front bumper. Rather than having him stop, get out of the car, and "unstuck" the cone, I ran out and took care of it for him. He gave me a "thank you" wave, and went on to park the car.
While this was an admittedly small and inconsequential act, it was important for me because it was an indicator that I'm beginning to notice (and act on) things that are happening around me. In the past, I would have let the valet take care of it himself; after all, he's the one who ran over the cone. Now, I'm actively looking for opportunities to be of assistance. I think the difference is mostly one of degree. Before, I would act on situations that were clearly in my personal space. For example, if a person dropped something right in front of me, I'd certainly stop to pick it up for them. However, if I saw something that was further from my space, I might have left it alone. Either I'm expanding the definition of what's in "my space" or I'm just becoming more comfortable with extending myself outside of my previous boundaries. Either way, it's a good thing.