It’s impossible to “miss out!”
There are no set parameters that provide a fixed formula for enjoying a fulfilled life!
Context is easily cast aside in favor of the prevailing idea, that popular trends pave the path to having fun, or simply being happy!
We were still newlyweds when we decided we would get to Paris someday.
However, the whole idea of traveling that far was often relegated to the forlorn attic of “maybe one day.”
And every time we attempted to create a semblance of a budget with our small salaries, we wryly acknowledged that the door to the attic of “maybe one day,” might very well have been guarded by a fire breathing dragon and a few nasty looking orcs.
I pictured those guardians mocking me, by saying, “those dreams are not for you,” while sneering vindictively!
We did get to Paris though.
When the “maybe one day,” morphed into “now is that day!”
And there we were, in Paris!
Of course, nothing could hide the fact that we were wide-eyed tourists.
And we couldn’t be bothered any less.
Because we made it to the streets of Paris.
“How do you reach a spot?”
And this brings me to a question, “How do you reach a spot?”
The idea of formulating a personal relationship with “context” is very reliant on creating some terminology that suits you.
Suppose you were to travel to a neighboring town, when do you “reach your destination?”
Do you reach your destination once you’ve crossed over those invisible lines that indicate the city limits?
Some would say they’ve reached a destination when they can see the church spires in the distance.
While others take a different approach and don’t see the destination as separable from the objective associated with the visit.
Let’s say there’s someone they need to meet, in town.
The destination then becomes the objective!
You know those people who will go on holiday and insist it’s not a holiday until they’ve been to their favorite part of the beach, or dined at their favorite restaurant.
That’s just how people differ.
Context is indeed a very personal affair!
Having fun is an abstract idea!
All these examples serve to illustrate the power, and necessity of forming some context whenever you observe something!
The abstract idea of “having fun,” can easily become something you only observe, primarily within the way other people seemingly go about it.
And then you take that observation, without always overlaying what you believe you saw, with your version of reality.
It’s easy to observe skilled dancers as being the main attraction at a party.
The center of attention.
The de facto standard of what having fun at a party should be!
Yeah, that’s what you tell yourself! Because the music is loud, everyone is cheering!
A loud display often conditions us to place it within a slot that says, “this is the right way!”
It’s loud and all over the place, so, therefore, it has to carry some authority?
The guy with the bullhorn in the crowd doesn’t always have authority, sometimes he just has a bullhorn!
So what else happened while you were watching the dancers?
Maybe you succeeded in placing your skills as a dancer into the proper context, and you realized that there’s no way you will have any fun at the party if you relied on the perception that you were in any way required to compete with skilled performers!
The importance of context prompts you not to dwell upon the skills you lack, but maybe focus on that which you already have?
Here’s a potential construct for implementing the logic that’s inseparable from the basics of formulating context.
You are there— at the party.
Many other people are not at the party.
Some seem to be enjoying the party more than you are.
Those are the facts, and it’s truly as simple as that.
The skilled dancer may very well be the center of attention, but you can still enjoy the excellent food at the buffet, the very same food that the dancing prodigy will also enjoy.
It’s also the same food that’s not available to those who weren’t fortunate enough to have been invited.
When we were in Paris, we certainly didn’t participate in all the expensive tourist traps that the travel brochure would have you believe forms part of the “Exclusive Package!”
Naturally, it’s not that exclusive if thousands have already done it.
The context we formed back then, was simply finding the means to be physically present within the iconic city.
Everything we did after that, became a bonus.
Living your “best life,” or someone else’s version?
You’ll often hear how people tell you with gusto, how to live “your best life!”
I’m fine with what they say, but “context” will teach you that you’re living your only life!
It could’ve been nice to have two lives?
A mundane, everyday one, suitable for completing menial tasks.
We all need to work, you know!
And then— the super-powered “better you” that is reserved for partying, rock-climbing, skydiving, and lunar exploration!
Context can surely guide you to where you wish to go, but ultimately, “context” informs you where you are!
If you observe the horizon, then context is looking at the map, to help you determine your relative position to that horizon.
But there’s more, context will also help you understand whether you have the skills, equipment, and abilities to make the hike towards that horizon.
And context will also aid you in deciding whether it’s worth it!
When I was still a teacher, a pupil asked me to explain the difference between “context,” and “perspective.”
I can’t remember that I even had a proper context of my own, let alone enough perspective to help the pupil understand it.
I only managed to dispense dictionary-definitions back then!
Nowadays I follow a somewhat reductionist approach, but it’s my context, and therefore my rules!
If I were to build upon my horizon-analogy— perspective gives you the ability to look at the horizon from different angles.
Climb into a tree, lie on your stomach.
Context, however, is still going to place you within a specific spot, relative to your position within that spot!
Before it becomes too technical, we can watch the stars from Earth— no matter where on Earth we are?
Moving around gives us a better perspective on the essence of the thing we’re watching.
Sometimes we merely need to move out from under a tree, to see stars!
But whichever we look at it, context still places us as observers on good old Mother Earth.
I remember watching the stars at a youth camp and for the first time seeing them outside of the city glare.
It was amazing.
Moving away from the bright lights of the town changed my perspective!
I told a companion, “imagine being out there, cruising among the stars!”
Of course, context determined that it would be highly unlike within the foreseeable future.
I believe there’s a definitive part within the human psyche that drives us to explore, and there’s nothing wrong with that!
The big threat to our version of happiness is being unable to appreciate a view of the horizon when we are unable to reach the horizon!
If we can’t reach the stars, let’s not forget how much we enjoy watching them from seemingly incalculable distances!
Yes, I am still fortunate enough to still find the time in which to appreciate the stars from where I’m currently at.
It may not be the best spot, it may not be the ultimate spot for viewing the stars in all their glory.
But it’s my spot— and that is all the context I need!