This year, since I drive even less, I decide to use up the old gas. I finally needed gas this past week. I asked Mark, “Where’s the cheapest gas these days?”
He started to answer me. Then, both of us laughed—those deep belly laughs—and I said, “It really doesn’t matter, does it?”
My context for buying gas has changed—even more than when I originally got the hybrid car. While I don’t want to waste money, a few cents either way is not going to affect our household budget.
I didn’t notice—until I said those words out loud.
I’ve noticed the big context changes. I haven’t gotten on a plane since February. This is the first year since 1995 that I haven’t traveled at least once a month. That’s a long travel career, and I feel my world getting “smaller” because I’m not out and about.
I’ve noticed many smaller context changes, too. I wear my mask even walking around the neighborhood. We haven’t gone out for dinner. We’ve been careful seeing our (grown) children.
Somehow, I missed the context change about the car and the gas.
I think I missed that context change because I don’t make the “get gas” decision very often. Even when I buy gas, I buy it infrequently.
That means I use old decision-making habits, even though my context changed.
How to Notice When You Context Changes
Sometimes we recognize context changes immediately. Sometimes, we need more time. I’m pretty good at recognizing a context change when:
- The change is sudden.
- I encounter this change with high frequency.
I’m not so good with slow or low-frequency changes. I only sort-of realized the context change about gas for my car. That’s because I rarely practice putting gas in my car even when I drive a lot.
Here’s how I’m trying to train myself to recognize context changes:
- Am I puzzled? Do I wonder “what’s going on?”
- Am I stuck trying to do the same thing I’ve always done?
- Do I ever wish things would “go back” to the way they were?
I’m human, so yes, I do all of these things. Each of these questions arises because of the slow or low-frequency of the change.
I write to help me notice. You might choose to journal.
I also ask these questions:
- How Can You Prevent Your Fear From Limiting Your Options?
- How Do We Operate When We Can’t See the Finish Line?
- When Do We Decide to Persevere or Change?
Those questions help me create more possibilities, create interim goals, and decide when to change makes sense.
And, because some of these decisions are infrequent, I might continue to not notice fast enough when my context changes.
That, dear adaptable readers, is the question this week: When do you notice when your context changes?
- How Will Your Memory Be For a Blessing?
- Can You Hold Two Opposing Views in Your Head at the Same Time?