Like Day Old Bread—Reexamining Our Assumptions

We all operate our lives on the basis of many assumptions: the sun will rise each morning, our bodies will function the way we need them to, our days will unfold in a peaceful manner.  Such conjectures are entirely reasonable and, far more often than not, 100% correct. In fact, if we didn’t operate on the basis of such conjecture, we’d be unable to live our lives on anything resembling a normal basis. So, I’m down with the entire supposition-as-a-way-of-living deal.

 

As Re-booters, we know all too well that monkey wrenches can be thrown into the midst of our lives—some good, some disturbingly disruptive—but, for the most part we proceed with the expectation that life proceeds as we fundamentally expect. We’ve paid attention, considered our options, and drawn conclusions that have served us faithfully and well over the years. What intrigues me, though, is the failure of many to revisit these perhaps now stale conclusions.

 

What I mean by this is the easy slide into recycling worn out ideas—somewhat akin to opting for the beehive hair do forty years after it fell out of favor. At the time, it was “the” fashionable hair style, and for a very, very few of us (although I have my doubts), perhaps we can still carry it off without looking as though we’re the overenthusiastic participants of some community theater group. When such folks look at themselves in the mirror, they see the same, exact person they saw decades ago, so, the hair style still works or the mini skirt or the family auto or living room furniture. Time has stopped for them. These are easily digestible examples, but what about assumptions of how we relate to our children or our siblings now that everyone is grown? Our approaches made sense at the time, but times have changed…

 

Despite the fact that our ideas or understandings of how things worked in the past were correct back then, we may be much better served by reexamining them in light of circumstances today. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” the saying goes. And, in many instances, this is the best course, philosophically speaking. But, what I’m seeing a lot of is people who don’t take the time to reconsider long held assumptions about how things (or people) work as we interact with them right now. Just because a person had a printing press in his basement back in the 1970s doesn’t mean that he still operates his publishing company that way!

 

The challenge is that for many such matters, there is no “crisis” forcing us to reexamine what we think about this or that. Instead, we operate on automatic pilot because it’s easier or well, we haven’t given the question any thought. Sound familiar? This means you!

 

Now, I’m the first to admit that running around navel gazing or questioning all of my assumptions about how life is supposed to work or what’s going on with other people is way too overwhelming to devote much time to. In fact, it’s near impossible to do that and live a productive life, but there’s room on this bell curve to update our ideas a whole lot more than most of us do. Why, in the world, would you trot out an answer you’ve relied upon for the last 20 years without reconsidering whether or not it remains valid or that there may be an even better one out there? Do you recognize how many people do this? It’s as if they reach a certain point in their (early-middle) adulthood where they simply stop asking questions. “I know all I need to know,” they tell themselves. “My answers were correct back then and their truth still holds. I’m on terra firma.” Really? It sounds like pretty shaky reasoning to me.

 

I’d like you to dwell upon this on your commute home today. What are some longstanding suppositions you’ve held about yourself or others that may not accurately reflect where things stand today? Even if you are “still right” about certain things, can you bring a new perspective or insight into your understanding? I’d I cringe to think of you, out there, sporting a beehive…

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