Today is my sister’s 40th birthday.
Birthdays are funny things, aren’t they? Or rather, not the birthdays themselves but our reaction to them – particularly milestone birthdays like 30, 40, 50, and so on.
Of course, assigning meaning to the – realistically speaking – meaningless is something we do as a matter of course, most times without ever noticing that we’re doing it. Numbers (lucky number seven, anyone?). Borders (this section is mine, and it’s better than yours). Symbols (a nation’s flag, or a skull and crossbones). Sounds (blowing a raspberry is mean; making fart sounds is rude). We tell ourselves that there is something significant and different about the chosen item or concept, then build a rationalization around it that convinces us that it is, in fact, significant and different.
And because our brain has no defense against what we tell it is true, our subconscious believes, and keeps coming up with reasons for continuing that belief.
The mind is an unbelievably powerful tool. Misused, it can create depression, prejudice, conflict both internal and external, even physical symptoms of an illness that doesn’t exist – or didn’t, until our brain convinced our body that it was so. And used effectively, it can create harmony, optimism that is not misplaced or unrealistic, good health and habits, even a life where everything you touch turns to gold.
But to have all that, you have to be very careful what it is you tell yourself.
Which means I need to start telling myself that I am not tired and groggy, ever, even when I don’t get enough sleep. And that I do use my time effectively, because I have made the choice to enjoy what I’m doing – whatever that task happens to be. (I’ve gotten back into poor, almost self-destructive habits of thought over time. They need to be changed.)