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Sunday, 16 July 2017

Time to think

Since 8 July, I've had some time to think because my back pains returned following several weeks of stress. Sitting in a chair and getting up both equalled torture. The prospect of pain took away my pleasure in writing. Actually, I lost my inspiration too. Nothing really mattered anymore (lyrics, video). When you have plenty of time, there is no escape from thinking.

Time to think is not something which most of us look forward to. While thinking comes naturally to me, it’s still pretty threatening when there’s nothing else to do. In my mind I’ve been revisiting my past, present and future. It didn’t cheer me up. Time to think never really does. It reminds us of doubtful decisions, missed opportunities, and lots of uncertainties going forward.

I suppose the above is the reason why we avoid taking time to think. Our busy lives – mine not included - allow for little time to think. Our mindset is often on the following day(s) and perhaps next week. Anything beyond seems irrelevant “today”. Being in control requires having certainties. A short-term outlook enables that sense of control.

Until a week ago, I was just living in the Now. Once you let someone enter into your life, there’s also the prospect of a joint Future. My mind may have been belittling that Future but my body certainly did not. The recent events of 8 and 12 June and its uncanny parallel with 8 June 2016 hurt my confidence, hope and trust. My body saw its usual way out in stressful times.

My girlfriend’s imminent medical examination will probably reveal nothing as we know almost nothing about that part of the human body. I’m not looking forward to her new examination and neither is she. I’ll support her decision anyway as it will be the right one - whatever she decides. She has been living on borrowed time for decades. I’m confident there’s a good reason for that.

Obviously, I was and still am afraid of losing her, and I’m not the only one. It explains my current stress levels to a large extent. Things in life are, however, often more complicated than one single event explaining all. My life’s plate of spaghetti still has several threads left to sort out and digest. Rushing decisions is not part of my approach.

I wasn’t the only one who had ample time to think. That mutual thinking brought us closer together. We are discussing future plans and that has lifted my moods – and hers. These discussions are conditional, hypothetical and even premature but nevertheless they still feel good.

Time to think is more dangerous when you’re thinking alone. It’s easy to amplify future risks and uncertainties. It’s tempting to minimise opportunities and appreciate what you have now. When there’s time to think together than creativity and enthusiasm bring out a more balanced line of thought. In business, this process would be called “brainstorming”.

Time to think together requires certain characteristics: communication, respect, togetherness, trust, vulnerability. These 5 belong to the 7 elements of a unique relationship (see my 2016 blog). I must admit that it feels so good!

Feels So Good (1977) by Chuck Mangione - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2