Monday, August 30, 2010

The Mind Wanders Where it Will

I think I've blogged about this before, but it came to my mind again today. With the kids back in school now, I have some free time to pursure things that interest me. So today I visited my old workplace. It was fun. Everybody was glad to see me again, they made me feel very welcomed. We talked about the stuff you'd expect like, "how are the kids?", "what's new in your life?", "what are the kids doing these days?", etc. Pretty simple small talk.

Then I was able to talk with my old good friend for a little while longer and made a new discovery, or at the very least, remembered this discovery from earlier. When you are at home, or at least when I'm at home, I find myself becoming very obsessive compulsive over things I wouldn't normally think about very much. It's like these little things become very big things. For instance, getting a tire fixed on our car. It is no big deal, right? Just go get it fixed. But when that becomes your highlite for the day, it transforms into an event!

This got me thinking about what people think about when they retire. Or when someone loses a job suddenly and doesn't have immediate prospects of finding new work quickly. Or what about the stay at home Mom who has been home for a long time. In every case, I would guess this same process is at work.

Going to the store simply becomes an ordeal. Running an errand becomes so important that you expect CNN to be following you with a camera crew. Something else I notice, when you don't get a phone call from a friend or family member in a couple of days, you start imagining all sorts of ill-thoughts toward that person and wonder what you did to alienate them. Worse yet, you may begin to despise them because..."How dare they have the audacity to put their lives before yours. What could they be thinking about, obviously not you!"

That seems kind of funny I know, but I think it happens all the time. "Why?", you ask. Well it's simple. When you don't have a job to do during the day or something to occupy the bulk of your time, it's easy to place too high of importance on the day to day "stuff" of life. So missed phone calls, or simple trips to Wal-Mart become life changing circumstances worthy of complaint and judgement on your part.

I see this in people who are in similar situations to myself. It's funny because when I have something to look forward to, like my son's baseball practice, my perspective on these other events become sharper and much more appropriate. However, during this endless summer, I found my priorities woefully out of whack and my attitude toward people and things were much more stressed, as many could probably see.

So I challenge myself and anyone out there in the cyber-world who shares my situation - that being at home for extended periods of time, with very little on your plate. It can be a mine-field, frought with dangerous expectations. Do yourself and everyone around you a favor, try to keep it in perspective. I promise to do the same, but as the title suggests, "the mind wanders where it will". So, keep it on track, keep it focused and try to not get bent out of shape when that trip to the grocery store doesn't go like you planned.

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