Ever have one of those days where it feels like your world is on the verge of exploding all around you? A day where, not just one thing goes horribly wrong, but everything seems to be falling apart at once? Yesterday was one of those days for me.
Realizing this, I did what any sane person in that situation would do. I went to the kitchen and made myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. (It was all I had in the way of comfort food.)
As I gnawed on my sandwich, I couldn't help but think of Chris Lehman and Kate Roberts' Falling in Love with Close Reading. (I know that seems odd, but stick with me here.) In their book they talk about closely reading our own lives. This totally makes sense because, after all, meaning is found within the details of a story, including the story of your own life. If you never examine your life, then chances are you're not living a very meaningful one, and you have doomed yourself to make the same mistakes over and over again.
Which I do. Make the same mistakes. Over and over and over.
I have come to the conclusion that we humans (or at least this human) have an overdeveloped ability to see only what we want to see. If acknowledging the existence of certain details would force change upon our lives, that ability can slam into hyper-drive, thus allowing us to ignore what would be only too obvious to someone without a vested interest. Blindly we go on, attempting to convince ourselves that everything is just fine and we should be grateful for what we have.
Which is kind of what I have been doing. Only half-convinced, though, it has left me waffling back and forth, wrestling with big decisions. The waffling has allowed me to stay rooted firmly in place, and while there has been some security in that, there has been a whole lot of discontent. No doubt, no matter how much I have tried to hide it and keep it carefully concealed, it has seeped out, contaminating other aspects of my life.
Tired of the indecision, I recently began to actively search for signs, or the text evidence if you will, that would help me decide what to do. Patiently I have gathered them up, and as Lehman and Roberts suggest, I have analyzed them carefully for patterns that might point me toward a new understanding. Not so surprisingly, perhaps, the evidence has piled up, confirming what my gut had been telling me for quite some time. Are there still doubts? Definitely. Some of those doubts continued to wear at me to such an extent that I was almost ready to change my mind. Then, the final piece of evidence fell into place. Doubts be damned, it is time to move on.
Truth be told, the signs were there for quite some time. I just wasn't ready to see them. Even when I did, there was still this inner-voice arguing against the conclusion I had drawn. I suspect this is the case for most of us whenever we are confronted by potentially life-altering decisions. Sometimes all you need is a nudge to get you moving in a new direction. Sometimes you need a shove. In my case, I needed one last shove to convince me I had made the right decision. And even though it left me a bit shaken and bruised, I can't help but be thankful that it came when it did. It helped to finally quiet that nagging inner-voice that just would not shut up.
Of course, it's entirely possible the peanut butter and jelly sandwich helped, too.