On most days, I leave my house before 9 a.m. and get back home after 10 p.m. On most days I’m usually very much still awake when I get home, and I’m able to read and knock out some homework and personal study items (or chores) before going to bed.
But there are other times when I find that I am incapable of doing anything except vegging in front of my computer screen or TV set or chatting with friends or playing with my dogs or going to sleep.
When this happens, I know I have reached a threshold, that my brain needs time to rest.
My mind is tired. My emotions are tired. I need time to regenerate so I can fight again another day.
But most people? They don’t exercise their mind. They avoid emotional conflict.
I was talking to a friend the other day, and she asked me how I was. I told her (truthfully) I was sad and that my brain was going to explode.
Aww, she said, did I want to talk about it?
Nope, I said. Sad is fine with me. And my brain being at the point of possibly exploding is just evidence that I have been exercising it.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a robot. I vent and I cry and I pray and I shut down. I’m human. Probably too human for my own good at times.
But I don’t shy away from discomfort. I stretch. I do things that I fear. I do things I dislike. I engage in confrontation if I have to. I get rejected. I ask stupid questions. I get embarrassed. I make a fool of myself regularly.
My purpose in life is NOT to be happy. Anyone that says that life is about being happy doesn’t know anything about life.
It IS important to be happy. But it’s also important not to be happy at times.
No. I am not religious. I do not believe in suffering for the sake of suffering. I don’t believe in external, moral, voluntary penance to make things right when they are wrong.
I’ve seen a lot of grown men and women falter these past few weeks. People in positions of responsibility that take their role for granted. People shrinking under pressure. Under the facade of having everything together, it turns out most people crumble when they face any type of adversity.
Perhaps that’s a little bit harsh. And yet I believe it is true.
I used to think that some people are cut out for conflict and some people aren’t. And that is probably true to a large degree. Some people probably do naturally deal with stress better than others.
But I believe also that composure is a skill.
Emotions and the mind are like muscles. They grow or atrophy with disuse. People that run away from their problems will always depend on people that don’t.
There’s no easy way around it.