That one time Walmart proved me wrong

One of my favorite things about life is when something you expect is terrible actually turns out quite wonderful. Like when I thought I hated guacamole, but then tried it on a dare and realized that my tastebuds are all about the guac. Same with black beans.

Well, yesterday, Walmart proved me wrong. I was under the impression that Walmart is ALWAYS the lobby to Hell, but I found that there is a time in the day when Walmart is actually quite magical.

RIGHT?!

Seriously, I know exactly what you’re thinking right now, and I understand and respect your reservations. But Walmart at 10 am on a Thursday was a completely wonderful experience. 1) I got a parking spot in the same zip code. 2) I got a brand-new, non-busted cart, and I’m not even sure when the last time that happened (if ever) was. 3) All the employees were smiling and cheerful. 4) There wasn’t anything spilled on the floor. 5) I didn’t have to witness any children getting spanked. 6) More than one register was open (!!!!!). And, finally, 7) IT WAS QUIET.

It got me to thinking. If Walmart could prove my perceptions wrong, what else could? What else have I closed myself off to because I had made up my mind that it was and was always going to be awful?

It was a scary thought. One plagued with visions of missed opportunities, unlearned lessons, and rejected blessings. In the middle of my wonderful, magical, like-seeing-a-unicorn Walmart moment, I faced a demon that I didn’t even know I struggled with. (I’ve seen a lot of demons at Walmart, by the way.)

I have let perception hold me back from living a full life.

Someone once told me that “perception is reality.” Which was excellent advice when applied to how I consider how others perceive me, but not so excellent in the reverse. All of these perceptions and expectations stored in my mind are creating a false reality. One where I can hide behind an opinion because it’s safe and easy. One where I can shut someone out because my perception of them is less than generous.

It’s also pretty terrible advice in terms of how I approach opportunities. I’ve said it all more than once. “Ew. I’ll live anywhere but there.” “I couldn’t do that job.” “That place just seems terrible.” All perceptions based on here say or expectations, and none based on experience. Sure, so-and-so could have really hated that job, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to. Or my really good friend’s boyfriend’s sister’s mother-in-law could have hated a certain town, but that doesn’t mean I will.

When I deny myself an experience, I’m living a life full of someone else’s stories because I’ve allowed their adventures and misadventures to become sufficient enough for my reality.

I’ve had one wish for 2013 – that it will be a year full of change, growth, and new experiences. And, as we approach the fourth month of the year, I’m troubled that I’ve possibly shut the door on a few opportunities already. I want my reality and perceptions based on experiences – be they incredible or incredibly terrible. I want more moments when I find that my perception was wrong, I want to fall in love with things that I thought I hated. I want things, places, and people to change my mind. Because, truthfully, my mind could use some changing.

Truth time: I still hate Walmart. It’s still terrible, just significantly less-so at 10 a.m. on weekday mornings.

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