The cat looks on baffled by my posture as I curl into the corner, wishing I too had a tail I could wrap around me. She squeaks at me and comes to find out what is wrong. Or, more likely, she comes for the comfort that my lack of movement presents. She settles in, nestling, finding a space which suits her frame, often in the most awkward of positions.
Cats, it seems, are not solids but fluid.
My brain agonises over decisions, whether or not I should have said something, whether or not I should say something when I can, what should I do?
Momentary lucidity is more forthcoming now than once it was. Although I can get carried away with my emotions, and boy do I get carried away with them, I am learning to accept a bit more readily that there is not always anything I can do.
I realise that if I should have said something in order to achieve a certain outcome, that moment is now past and I can no longer go back and change it, therefore I cannot spend the next two days worrying about what I could have said, having not done so.
Worrying about what I did say is equally redundant. So often we are faced with alternative truths which are real only to the person to whom the experience applies. Thus my interpretation of what I have said, and what someone else might have thought based on what I said, are likely to be very different things.
I cannot do anything now, though I would love to be able to do something, but having this externally imposed hiatus may be of some value. Whilst it gives me time to think, it gives me time to remember that not everything in this world which has real value happens fast, that there is a subtlety about taking your time which is lost in these days of instant gratification and immediate availability.
So, whilst I would like to do something now, I can’t. This I must accept, because there isn’t any way around it.
What happens next?
If it is not immediately apparent, my brain is debating two very different things at the same time, I shall leave it up to you to try and decide what they are, because in all honesty it doesn’t really matter what it is that I am thinking about, it could be one thing or a thousand things. What it is doesn’t really matter. It is how I’m thinking which is, I think, important.
So, to worry about not having done something yet or whether it should have been done differently, is pointless. It doesn’t mean that we can’t think about it, but worrying about it won’t actually help anyone.
We don’t worry about the thing itself, but the consequences of the thing which has or hasn’t been done, or done correctly. Therefore we are worrying about the future, something which clearly doesn’t work.
Preparing for alternative outcomes is not the same as worrying (I keep emergency coffee) but there is the possibility that whatever we prepare for may not come to pass and what we don’t prepare for will. This is just how the world works. It doesn’t flood because you prepared for it, neither is it any more or less likely to do so because you haven’t. We feel justified when the things we prepare for happen, but for every day when you need the emergency coffee, there are an awful lot more when you don’t.
The opportunity for action does not always mean that action should be taken. What, in any given situation, is the right course of action to take? We can never be aware of all the action’s consequences, which may be much greater and far-reaching than we consider them to be. I can act, but maybe acting is not the best thing to do.
I could prepare for the possibility of a hurricane tomorrow, or next week, by stockpiling food and water, though the chance of my being impacted by a hurricane, given my location, are reasonably slim, to the point where I would be better putting my energy (and space) into something more productive.
Agonising over whether I should do something in the future is also futile. Because I am not in the future, I am now. There are a million things which could happen before I am able to take action, rendering my thoughts on the matter redundant. It’s like talking about what you would like to do ‘when you get old’, you might not get old, you might not want to do those things by the time you get old and, if you really want to do something, is there any better time than now?
So, is agonising over whether or not to do something or whether I will do something in two days’ time as pointless as stockpiling food and water for the hurricane which may never happen?
Let’s say I use the next two days to prepare what I think I am going to do. I map it out in my head, decide on what is going to happen, prepare to put my plan into effect on Monday morning.
What happens if I sleep in on Monday? What could happen in the interim which would give a completely different outcome? The possibilities are endless, or at least if they are not infinite then the number of possible changes which could take place between now and Monday morning are so staggering numerically that we might as well not bother trying to understand them.
On this basis then, what should I do? Should I sit here worrying about what I could have done differently? About what I could do when I have the opportunity? No. Because none of these things matter.
Instead, I’m going to pet the cat.
Oh and when you have the chance to tell someone you love them, do it (as long as you mean it in that moment). Monday might never come, and there aren’t enough hours in this life to spend worrying about what you could have said when you had the chance.
Occasionally I will write like this but usually on paper and so it doesn’t get shared but today I had room enough for an iPad but not a pad and pen so I thought that seeing as I have the opportunity to share I would do so, in case anyone else finds this worth reading or helpful. Welcome to my therapy, it is an interesting place to be inside this head sometimes.