When Do You Choose to Embrace the Past, Present, or Future?

past, present, future, time concept on blackboardI went to the dentist this morning, for my semi-annual cleaning. The only interesting parts of the visit were their COVID questions and the piped-in music.

They asked me about my vaccine and disease status 4 times: when I made the appointment; when I confirmed it by email; confirmation the day before by phone; and when I got inside to sit in the chair. Could they trust me? Yes. Can they trust other people? I guess not.

I was in junior high and high school in the late 1960s and early 70s. This morning I heard some of the worst of that music. Why? Because it reminds my dentist of his “wonderful” past. I not so gently reminded him that some of us prefer to live in the present. And that all his hygienists were much younger than he was.

That’s when he told me he told me it was all about him. He wanted that music to do a root canal.

Well, okay. I can sort of understand it. However, I don’t have to like it.

That’s when I said to him, “Some of us embrace the present, not the past. Maybe bring your music taste up to the 2000s.”

The hygienist snorted with laughter. He looked at me as if I was slightly crazy. I offered him some music suggestions.

I’m sure he will not listen to me.

But all my interactions this morning told me that he—and by extension—his staff—are applying the past to the present. And possibly the future.

How Can We Embrace the Present and Honor the Past?

In my never humble opinion, my dentist continues to live in the past in too many ways. He has options instead of asking me to verify my COVID status all those times:

  • Ask for proof of vaccination. (I live in Massachusetts, where people can do this.)
  • Alternatively, ask for a recent COVID test.
  • Consider better choices of when to ask about my status. (When I’m already in the chair? If people lie once, won’t they lie more often?)

Because dental work requires an open mouth, I want all the staff and me to stay safe at my dentist. However, I fear we are in COVID-theater, instead of true risk assessment. We can take what we learned (the past), the current data (the present), to create and embrace a new future. For example, why ask me to verify my status once I’m in the dental chair? If I’m not vaccinated, I already added much more risk, especially to his staff.

And then there’s the music. I can appreciate some oldies. However, even while I appreciate those songs, I don’t like a steady diet of them.  Why? I already spent a significant portion of my life listening to that music (in the past). What new music can I listen to, so I can embrace the present?

We can honor and appreciate the past. I like to use that honor to continually create a new present, so I can embrace the future. When I do, I create more adaptability in my life.

How about you?

The question this week is: When do you choose to embrace the past, present, or future?

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