Have you ever noticed how your brain moves at a different speed than your life? Life spins along under your feet, happening. Job, gym, pets, relationship, kids, whatever you spend your time doing. Most of the time, things just chug along. And then something happens. You get a cold, your period, a headache, cancer, a break-up. And then all of a sudden, your brain is going “but wait! It was better over there, when none of this annoying stuff was happening.” The annoying stuff is still happening, but your brain is off in la-la land trying to convince you that reality is fiction and fiction is reality. In these moments, I think of it as my brain slowing down.
(On the flip side, when it’s making plans about next Tuesday or next year, I think of it as speeding up, but that’s not what we’re talking about today.)
I’m grateful that my brain is capable of thinking about things outside of the exact present moment. I mean, that is it’s job. If we could only ever be in the exact present moment nothing would ever get done — no lessons would be learned, no plans achieved, nothing. But sometimes it slows down so much that it just gets stuck in the past. And those are the worst days ever.
I’m having a day like that.
“Before chemo a cold wouldn’t last for three weeks.”
“Before cancer I could run six miles.”
“Before my life turned upside down I earned more money.”
“Before last week Ellie didn’t have genetic heart disease and I didn’t burst into tears every time I looked at her knowing that she would leave me someday.”
“Last week it was warm and sunny outside and now its cold and gray and depressing.”
“A month ago I hadn’t finished this book and now I have and I’m NEVER GOING TO FIND ANOTHER BOOK THIS GOOD AGAIN. EVER.”
“Before I downloaded whatever update to whatever system gobbledegook my computer told me to do, my computer was faster. Stupid computer.”
It’s been an AWESOME day.
I think about this, and write about this phenomenon a lot in a a lot of different ways. Humans have a hard time with change.
But right now, Ellie is lying in my lap, purring and alive and adorable. I’m going to yoga in a couple hours, which is better for my knees than running. I will recover from my cold, and in the meantime, I should make sure that I’m taking all of my vitamins and supplements.
And I know that life “before” is not life “now.” And living in it does me no favors.