I often simply life too much. I see myself doing it and try to change how I think but it’s so effortless to see the world plainly. The thoughts arrive before I realize what I’m doing and I’m left thinking, “If only I were better looking, things would be so much easier.” There are no doubts that in some ways life would be easier if I were able to change certain things. But those changes come with challenges I’m not thinking about. I’m hooked on one specific aspect and everything attached to it disappears in that moment. ‘If only I were taller.’ ‘If only I liked eating.’ I have this need to break everything down to bite size pieces so when I sit and think I’m not overwhelmed by complexity. I ignore that comfort when I study something or spend a good amount of time exploring or writing about it, but in my daily life I need it. I simply can’t process the amount of information in my vicinity right now, much less all the connections and buried meaning in every behavior. Every person running around this planet is about as troubled and confused and happy and sad and complex, as I am. We switch around the levels a little. I turn up the confused. Other people focus on the happy. I turn down the family while others tighten their circle of empathy. But most of us share the same feelings. Whether we can articulate how we feel or not, the underlying motivations are there.
Beyond the more basic stuff, I have a few ways of thinking that are important to me. Not because they necessarily define me in any way, but because I care about them. (And I suppose we are the sum of everything we care about which is why it’s so hard to fully understand behaviors.) When I take these things I care about – social issues, philosophy, love, and science – it’s easy to divide the world into an Us vs Them. What I have to do is remove that wall and try to deal with other people as nearly the same as me. That is, a caring human being. We share a lot, so generalities can be helpful, but the “others” are not always bad or stupid people trying to manipulate the world to fit their views in order to benefit themselves or their in-group. (Sometimes that is the case on both sides, though.) Usually, there is a fundamental misunderstanding. Someone is not communicating well enough and something else pops up – anger, biases, hubris – to prevent further rational interaction. At times, no level of communication will do the trick to engage in an open dialogue, but other times, there is a willingness.
It’s straightforward to see the world in only one way. Whether it’s seeing your worldview as being correct or your situation as unfairly challenging. (Who said anything about fair anyway?) It’s useful sometimes, because it’s not possible to get to know the hundreds of people you interact with every week (or shorter if you’re involved with the public or are absurdly popular).
At times, I like to think I have more problems than anyone else, even while acknowledging I’m the source of most of them. I like to feel sorry for myself, because, honestly, it’s easier than rolling up my proverbial sleeves and making something happen myself.
Who doesn’t get tired?