I’ve been thinking a lot tonight about thinking, since it’s something I do more of than I probably should. When I’m not thinking, I’m reading or watching things to think about later. Or maybe listening to music that makes me feel stuff so that I can think about the stuff it’s making me feel. Or sometimes I wind up thinking about thinking too much and wind up on here writing a blog post about just that.
* * *
I don’t consider myself to be a very lucky person.
Luck’s for people who like to impart probability with meaning.
I’ve got a lot of statistics attached to me. Ones associated with my age. Or my gender. My income and/or education levels. My least favorite are the ones associated with my health.
On that last count, at last, it sometimes makes me believe in luck.
But I don’t want the feeling associated with it anymore. I’m sick of them.
I am the 20% with depression.
I am the 8% with asthma.
I am the 0.02% with ulcerative colitis.
Aren’t I lucky.
* * *
To combat my bad luck, I read a lot. I like to think that if I can understand how everything works, it’ll make things easier.
Did you know that Rumination is actually an well-fleshed out concept in psychology? It’s got competing theoretical frameworks and everything!
I’ve always liked reading about Psychology – dipping in and out of the different sub-fields of study and the theories within theories within theories, the dissents and assents, anecdotal evidence and scientific studies. Thinking about it reminds me of a lot of the same things I think about when I think about writing or music or art art. It’s like trying to develop a rigorous framework of something infinitely complex and constantly evolving that you understand instinctively, but not intellectually.
The problem with thinking too much is you eventually wind up with a bunch of probability distributions within probability distributions. Ad infinitum.
Genetics is the same. It’s rare when there’s a direct cause and effect between a gene being turned on or not. Or a gene being mutated or not. There’s too much complexity. Everything affects and is affected by everything else. It’s an ecosystem, not a pixel. An ecosystem of fucking probability distributions.
Everything’s got a p value: the probability of seeing the thing that actually happened, given the likelihood of everything else that could have happened where the variables are the millions upon millions of tendencies and fears and desires that determined just how hard it was for you to get out of bed this morning. I could have done so many millions of different things in the forty five minutes between when my alarm went off and when I finally sat up.
It’s one of the things I love about free will – infinite choice with limited tendency.
* * *
I probably shouldn’t read so much about psychological concepts when I’m currently in therapy. Part of me feels like it’s cheating, trying to find words to explain to myself what’s going on inside my head. Another part of me worries that I find explanations to latch on to because that means it can be understood and therefore conquered. I know the reality is somewhere in between.
I know I’ve been making a lot of good choices this past year, despite a lot of objectively shitty things happenening.
But that shitty year didn’t stop me from being able to walk away from the CD release party for my band’s first EP last week with a giant shit eating grin on my face. Or stop me from having an absolutely amazing time at Youtopia with my family of friends going on epic quests for french fries (down there in the open space), being a part of the most perfect and indecent wedding I will ever see. It didn’t stop me from writing a whole new fucking story this fall that I almost believe might actually become something pretty cool. And organizing that entire damn book into an outline I can actually follow and writing a third of a draft that I don’t immediately cringe at when I go back and read it. When I eventually go back and read it.
Everybody wants to be someone else. More loved. Freer. Happier. Taller. An ex-smoker. A rock star. Kinder to their grandparents. A better writer. A mom.
I have always wanted to be someone else. Maybe someone I admire so maybe I can give myself a god damn break for a little while. Some days I’m close. Some days I’m so far away I don’t even know why I bother trying.
I wish I believed in luck. For as many bad feelings I have with losing at statistics right now, sometimes you also win.
And winning feels nice.