Category: Conversation

Elbow Etiquette

I was on an airplane last week and was disturbed by the lack of etiquette I experienced. I’m not talking about crying babies, people snoring or odd odors – I’m referring to the lack of elbow etiquette. Elbow etiquette is when someone hogs the armrest without consideration to the person sitting next to them.

You see whether you are on an airplane, in a stadium or at the movie theater more than likely you’ll have to share your armrest. A lot of people like to rest their entire forearm on the armrest but I believe there should be rules:

  • Ask me first – Before you decide to “hog” the entire armrest, check to see if I’d like to use it at all. It’s called courtesy folks.
  • Take turns – Okay, maybe you got to your seat before me and have already gotten comfortable with your elbow on the armrest. Well, just don’t forget that there are others sitting on either side of you so maybe at halftime you can remove your elbows & let me have a turn with the armrest. After all, it is partially mine as well.
  • Front/Back – So here’s a situation where both parties can be happy. If you rest your elbows on the front of the armrest, I’ll take the back. Or vice versa. Either way works for me. This way we both get some elbow real estate and don’t have to take turns or go without.
  • Don’t use it at all – This is probably the easiest and most rationale approach. Don’t use your armrest at all and that will ensure that the person next to you won’t have any problems.

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My Past Is In Front Of Me

I’m bound to repeat the same mistakes if I don’t learn from them. How many times have you done the same thing expecting different results? According to Einstein, that’s called insanity.

I’ve dealt with this so many times – situation after situation would occur but instead of making better decisions, I would repeat my efforts thinking that everyone else needed to change, not me.

Here’s a prime example: In an effort to be more active in my community I volunteer for various events and always get so involved that I end up overworked. I usually get asked to either help raise money, solicit other volunteers or assist with clean up duties. While I don’t mind helping out, when I volunteer for one event it seems like I’m asked to volunteer more & more. And since it’s hard for me to say no to a good cause, I end up spending more time on other people’s activities than I do working on my own. And this cycle continues. After repeatedly being overwhelmed by “over volunteering”, I am now learning to say no more often.

As long as we continue on the same path, we will continue to make the same mistakes. But when we decide to change directions our past stays in the past. After all, that is what’s meant by the expression “live and learn.” I am now ready to make new mistakes, not the same ones from my past.

My pastor always says, “I see you in the future, and you look much better than you do right now”. Don’t let the mistakes of your past keep you from having a great future.

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