I awoke at 3 AM this morning, but not because I want to be like Jocko Willink. It’s simply the hour my brain typically starts to get fidgety, like a toddler who’s asked to sit still for too long.
I was pretty internally negative, most of the day yesterday. As a way of trying to combat having another day like that, after I woke up and sat in silence for a few moments, I attempted to pray. For a better day, better internal dialogue and a better train of thought.
Call it resistance, adult ADHD, a wandering mind or a lack of faith — but my mind wanted to do anything but focus, in those few brief moments of prayer.
I got sidetracked by every obscure thought I had, and there were a lot of them. More thoughts then I feel like your average person probably deals within a three-minute span, especially while they’re trying to do something else.
Do others think of some random girl they went to high school with, who they haven’t thought about in well over a decade, while they’re trying to have a heart to heart with God, or The Universe, or whatever?
Inquiring minds want to know — and I certainly seem to have an inquiring one. It just inquires about a lot of very little significance.
I don’t know for certain if there’s a God and if there is, it’s not likely he/she grades prayer sessions. But if they did, I without a doubt failed this latest one.
Even if you and I believe the same things, we probably don’t think the same. I don’t say that to praise my brain, nor to spite it. I’ve just become acutely aware of the fact my mind works differently, for better or worse. Sometimes it’s an asset — at others, a clear liability.
It’s responsible for my sense of humor, but also my anxiety and tendency to needlessly worry about things that don’t matter and never did. Still, it has its benefits.
The questions I ask myself and thoughts I randomly ponder allow me to write in the manner I do. I’m of the stream of consciousness variety when it comes to writing. I write first and edit after. Though, I’ll admit I usually try to keep many of the thoughts that leaked out into written word form on the page. Editing often comes down to grammar, some re-wording and a few format tweaks for me.
A whole seminar full of aspiring writers just read that and gasped, before condescendingly insulting me with a Hemingway quote they learned around the time I was hitting publish on my hundred-thousandth word.
The first draft of anything may just be complete shit, but so are most aspirations and seminars, so we’re even.
Do you see it now? Look how quickly my mind spun off into a tangent about Hemingway and aspiring writers who attend seminars, as I was in the middle of trying to explain how my brain works. The two aren’t related, I’m aware.
But I’m not going to edit it out. Many probably would. Their writing rule book says they must. Luckily, I don’t own one of those. Besides, it’s relevant to the subject matter, in that it’s a shining example of how my mind wanders and works.
My mind may roam freely when I need its complete concentration, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t stumble across a gem in those moments, every now and again.
Someone will be torturing me with a long boring story about their neighbor’s aunt who I never met and would probably loathe if I did, and my mind goes off in search of something cool to occupy itself with. I become worse at being capable of even pretending I’m interested in such a story, almost daily.
The older I get, the less I care. I imagine that’s probably most of us though.
After a few drinks, I’m capable of becoming the person who goes off on a long emotional diatribe you don’t care about. Thankfully I’m socially agile enough to be able to read when the other person is only half listening for the sake of being polite and I stop myself.
I have my alternative way of thinking to thank for my sense of creativity, and the fact I’m even able to do this on an almost daily basis. Your average person does not write 500–1000 words a day, especially not ones they go on to share with the world. All in all, I’m primarily grateful for the way my brain works, I suppose.
I observe things many others tend to miss completely. But it may be because they were focusing on things they were “supposed” to be.
Things like the boring story about their neighbor’s aunt, or their Mom’s rant about whatever Moms rant about. I wouldn’t know. When my Mother rants, my mind is too busy trying to recall whatever happened to the first girl who let me touch her boobs, or looking for an emergency exit, to listen. My mind doesn’t have time to go involving my ears in such matters, it’s busy elsewhere.