(Judged in relation to …)
For the last couple of days I’ve felt tired. That, commonly enough, can easily lead to frustration. I’m like anyone and everyone else: you don’t think straight when you’re tired. And when you’ve a lot you want to get done, that is, at the very least, annoying.
I was trying to think about thinking, which is odd enough. But my brain wasn’t cooperating and reading about it all was slow and heavy going.
And that all led me to wonder about my thinking; about my thinking being slow in its own right. But who’s assessing? By what measure? What’s the benchmark?
And it was a short step from there to considering the benefits of isolation. Splendid isolation. Surely, wouldn’t life all feel better if there was no external expectation. You could take ‘being your own person’ one step further than that glib and hackneyed utterance might imply. Why just one step – why not several.
That all sounds comforting. Positive.
But although I thought I’d thought that through, eventually the prospect of a vacuum reared up.
Taken literally then yes, of course, any of us would die in a vacuum. Taken figuratively, I suspect the same is true of our thinking: it would rapidly wilt and die in isolation.
As is often said, everything is relative – and that includes your judgments about your own thoughts and thought processes. Whatever your assessment is, you’re making it relative to learnt norms, learnt expectations.
Although that’s not where that train of thought started, nevertheless it feels all right. After all, we are social animals.
Slower/Trust Your Brain
I don’t think I’ve ever been happy hurrying.
I don’t think I’ve ever been accused of being lazy, nor of being a procrastinator. But I want to work at my own pace. And now I’m so much slower, pace is more important.
Slower? Do I mean slower? Perhaps that is right, the right term. These days thoughts feel more disconnected than they once were. More fragmented.
But I’m less frustrated by it all than I once was. The fragmentation doesn’t make me as insecure as it once did, and hence not so unhappy.
If you like, think of it all as a jigsaw. I have more parts than I once did and they are spread over a wider area, but they do all fit together. The picture’s still complete. Eventually.
And because I’m aware of the fragmentation, I can come up with strategies to bring and then hold all the parts together. I can work with it more-or-less happily. Overall, I think I’m right in my belief that, these days, my thoughts are reasonably coherent. As I assess it, I suspect my thinking is as good (or bad) as it ever was.
(There’s the perpetual niggle that I’m, sort of, both judge and jury on that front, but I think there’s enough external positive evidence that my thinking is OK. Either that or all my friends are part of a very consistent conspiracy.)
So I’m piecing more, smaller, bits together. But I have a process to work within. And I know my limits far better than I did. I know when I can’t function within that process; I know when it’s right to just stop trying for a while.
My partner’s known all along that it’s all about process. I’m learning it myself these days.
So, yes, I think the big overarching change is only that I’m slower.
And when I try to look back, I don’t think I’ve ever thought thoughts are linear, tidy, naturally sequential.
Arguably … if you accept that your own judgments are relative to learnt norms and expectations, that throws up more questions. You have to assess who or what are setting those norms and expectations. And are they acceptable.