Out Of Mind

Category: #personal Tags: #individuality #conformity #introversion

I spend so much time trying to get out of my head yet I've spent the last few weeks trying to get back in. The holiday season beginning with Thanksgiving disrupted the routine I had spent most of 2019 creating. One of my proudest accomplishments of the year was negated by a few days off work. 2019 was the year I realized the importance of consistency. And 2020 will by the year I focus on regaining and maintaining consistency while preparing for the disruption that will come with the 2020 holiday season.

I'm always looking for my ideal balance—yes, even when I walk because I can be clumsy at times—and part of that quest includes establishing how much time to spend in my own head. Spending too much time in your own mental juggle has negatives. For instance, when you're feeling stress or self-doubt during tense competition, it's probably best to break out of the gauntlet of your mind.

In the long run, listening to your internal negative voices may reveal problems you need to address, but if time is valuable and a deadline is looming, those voices will likely weigh you down and so they should be ignored until a later date. Everything in its right place.

I've grown up living in my own head. Doing so has always felt natural. Perhaps the comfort stems from growing up an only child. As an only child, I have no problem entertaining myself since I'm used to having no one else around to entertain me. In fact, these days when free time is ever more precious, I often prefer to be left to my own devices. I enjoy doing what I want to do and pursuing my interests. I'm self-sufficient that way.

Like any other introvert, I explore the world while in my head. Sometimes I start with a random thought which leads to an hours-long daydream. The origins of my blog posts and fiction exist in the real world outside my head, but the heart of my writing is discovered in my thoughts. If I don't have time alone to consider all that's happening around me, I will never be able to write. And worse, I will feel as I am just bouncing around in life with no direction.

I need to be inside my own head in order to process the world around me and believe me, I have quite a bit to process. Also, I'm not remarkably intelligent, so I need time to repeatedly attack my challenges. But emotions in particular take much effort to sort through and make sense of.

In numerous previous posts I've shared my struggles with processing grief. And as I’ve said on previous posts, grief can be complicated and tricky. But the same can be said about anger. The root of anger is not always obvious and can take some time to discover. Perhaps that's because anger is a reaction more than an emotion. Regardless, anger is an energy, one that should be managed.

When you spend time in your head, it's too easy to see your own perspective. I'm wise enough to know that I am wrong plenty. On the flip side, I have had a habit of ignoring my feelings in order to keep peace with others, a practice which caused me to become angry and unhappy with myself. Ignoring your own emotions is not a great way to keep peace within yourself. Now when I am angry, not only do I search for the origin of my anger, but I then have to judge whether said anger is justified or I have to ask to what extent it is justified. Anger has a way of clouding anyone's vision, so these situations can take a while as I work to determine what I should apologize for and what I should stand firm on.

Few people see the world as I do, and only I see it exactly as I do. That's why I treasure those few people I can connect with about my passions. Those people allow me to share what's in my head—my true self—and in those moments I feel comfortable stepping outside of myself.

The struggle with how much to live inside your head plays into the balance of conformity vs. individuality. To function in society, we all have to conform to some extent. We have to create a sense of familiarity with others to earn the benefits and protections of belonging to a larger group. But we do have to stay true to ourselves about what we value and hold dear. You can run all you want, but you can't hide from yourself—at least not without the assistance of mind-altering drugs. Wherever you go, there you are.

As I now find comfort in settling back into my own head, I know it’s only a matter of time before I’ll be fighting to get out again as part of my endless labor to find and maintain balance while I ping-pong between the poles. Such is life.