Ever notice that you just did something that’s a little unusual for you to do? Sometimes there are hidden reasons.
Part of trying to live an intelligent life is paying attention to our lives. And sometimes other people see things about us better and sooner than we do.
Yea, let’s buy some Jazz!
Here’s an example from years past:
I came home one day to find my wife giving me a puzzled look. She then asked if there was anything weird going on in my life, and how I was feeling. I couldn’t think of anything, and asked why she thought something might be up. “Because you just bought 15 CDs, and you rarely buy CDs, let along tons of them.” Interesting. Still, I couldn’t figure out why or what was up. Roughly a year later it happened again, and then again a few months after that. By the third time, she’d figured it out and so she clued me in: “You’re feeling stress from our finances and your response is to try to convince yourself that you have plenty of money.”
The next time I found myself standing in line to purchase a stack of CDs, I stopped, looked at myself, and realized she was totally right. Since then, whenever I’ve found myself about to binge-buy something, I smile because I know why, put the stuff back, and walk out knowing that I just outsmarted myself and I just made a great decision.
… until last week.
Last week I found myself standing at a checkout counter with a bunch of gifts for my wife. I reflected on our finances, but couldn’t think of why there would be stress there. So, I went home and asked my wife: “Ok, what’s up in my life now?” She informed me that those specific gifts were things that she actually needed and that she was glad I was paying attention enough to get them for her. Yay, good for me!
Reading is Hard
Our own lives are not always trivial to read. We’re not really great “unbiased observers with no emotional attachment” when it comes to paying attention to ourselves and reading how we’re doing. Sometimes we can see little flags, if we’re paying attention, and sometimes those can help us to make adjustments. Look for those when you do something that’s a little unusual for you to do. Pay attention to the surroundings at those times, and look for patterns. And it’s hard to understate the value of a good friend.
I don’t know how to read my life very well. What methods do you suggest? What’ve your experiences been? Do you know someone that does a great job of paying attention to their life?