A young man and his wife bought a home in a little town in Vermont. As they passed the general store, kids in their car-seats in the back, the young man sees an old timer in his rocker, sitting on the front porch of the store. The young man drives up to the elderly gent and says: “What is this town like? I just bought a house here and me and the wife and kids are moving to your town from the suburbs of Ohio. Are we gonna like it here? How long have you lived here?”
The old man rubs his whiskers and he says: “Lived here all my life….But, fore I kin tell how you’ll like it; let me ask you, how’d you like the last place you lived; that town in Ohio?”
The young man said, “Oh, we loved it! Our neighbors were friendly and kind; the children had so many nice friends and so did we. And we loved our cozy little house.”
The older man said, “Spec you’ll find it ’bout the same ’round here.”
The young man drove off happily.
Several hours later another car came by the general store, and this guy gets out of his car, leaving his wife inside and he inquires of the old-timer on the porch: “We’re from Kansas and we want to know what’s it like here in Vermont? My company’s relocating here and I just bought a house. Are we ‘gonna like it here?”
The old gent asks the young fella, “Well, how’d you find your last place–that place you lived in Kansas?”
The younger man said, “We hated it! The people were terrible and the schools were awful and our house was just one problem after another.”
The old timer said, “Spec you’ll find it ’bout the same ’round here.”
The point is that, “Wherever you go,” as they say, “there you are.” You can change your surroundings, move to anyplace and you’ll still be there when you get there. If you’re cranky, you’ll invite cranky. If you’re warm and friendly, you’ll very likely get the same.
I mean, isn’t life a lot about perception and about us, what we bring to the table? I remember in grad school one of my professors handed out the exact same photocopy to each member of his class. He had given us pictures that told a story. In one of the pictures a woman was taking a big step with a handbag on her shoulder. There was a man just behind her.
The professor said to the class: “Now you’ve all gotten the exact same picture. Who can tell me what’s going on in the story?” A man raised his hand, “They’ve had a fight. He’s trying to reason with her, but she won’t give him the time of day–‘won’t even talk to him.”
Another student, a woman, raised her hand to answer the question. The professor called on her and the woman answered: “That man is following that woman; he’s trying to steal her handbag!”
So, you see, we can’t be entirely objective about even what our senses tell us. All of us have past experiences and preconceptions and moods that color the way we look at today’s events. As with my grad school professor, people can have entirely different perspectives about the very same thing.
As the old gent realizes: it isn’t so much your surroundings that create your reality; it’s what you bring to your surroundings: your past experience and you, how you are. It seems to me that the reason for the saying “When it rains, it pours” has to do with us–if we are in a positive place we seem to attract a lot of positives; when in a negative place, we can “‘spec we’ll find it ’bout the same ’round here”—wherever here is.
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