April 17, 2012

the parking lot

"don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you got till it's gone? they paved paradise and put up a parking lot." counting crows

life is like a parking lot. and we as passengers on the road of life are always looking for the best parking space that we can find. for some of us, that search can take just a few seconds because we are able to find just the right space at just the right time. my family calls this principle "living right." for others of us, the search can continue for what seems like hours as it feels like there is just nothing available and that spot will just never be found.

some of us, for fear of never finding another spot, settle quickly on the first available one that we see. without second thought or hesitation, we simply park the car in the space and proceed to walk to our determined destination.

others of us, just as we are starting to pull into such a spot, begin to question whether it really is, in fact, the best spot that we can find. and we start to wonder if there is a closer spot. or one that's in the shade. or one that isn't right beside a huge puddle. and what if that spot is waiting just in the next aisle?

and so some of us back out of the parking space that we found and begin circling the lot in search for another. sometimes that better spot is just waiting on the next aisle, and other times we prospective parkers are left searching for a long while. and on rare occasions, it is, in fact, that the first spot was the best spot, but upon recircling we discover that it has already been claimed by another parker. and sometimes it would have been faster to park further away and walk than circle the lot 100 times in vain.

sometimes, after minutes of mindless searching, we spot an available space only to discover that we are not alone. someone else in that exact moment has spotted the space as well, and it becomes a race to see who will get there first. and don't you hate it when that other person wins? it makes me want to honk or accidentally "graze" that person's bumper to indicate that that spot was mine.

and sometimes just because a spot is the closest doesn't mean that it is the best. that close space might be directly under a tree with a family of birds just waiting to leave an unholy anointing on your windshield the moment that you walk away. sometimes that close spot is directly under a light pole, only to leave you obsessing over the irrational fear that it is going to fall and destroy your vehicle while you are shopping in the store.

but in our quest for the perfect, sweet spot, there are three things that i have discovered.

there isn't only one perfect spot in the lot. there are many good spots that could be equal candidates in efficiently serving the purpose of holding our cars, and sometimes it's simply a matter of choosing.

we should learn what type of parkers we are and own it. some of us will be satisfied with settling on the first spot we ever find, and that will be just fine with us. others of us will constantly question if a better spot exists, and we will need to circle the entire lot before making a definitive choice. either way, we need to learn what type of parker we are, embrace it, and own it.

and ultimately, we need to consider all of our options and choose our space on our own time. whether we are fast parkers who are on a mission to find a space and keep on moving or whether we are over-analyzers who need to make the perfect, informed decision, we must make our own decision at our own pace.

we don't need to continue looking in our rear views and lamenting paradise lost, but we need to press forward through the parking lot and claim our spots.

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