This morning, I find myself and my overactive mind in White River Junction, Vermont. When you read that sentence, it may (or may not) have spurred any of the following questions:
· What or where is White River Junction, Vermont?
· What is he doing there?
· Why do I care?
These are valid questions, none of which I will answer at this time. Because the fact that I’m here, in this place that three years ago I didn’t know existed (not Vermont, ‘cuz I’m not a dummy; just the White River Junction part of it) isn’t as important as the fact that my brain is spinning this morning, and a hotel room in White River Junction is where it’s spinning.
Thing is, White River Junction didn’t cause my brain to spin. It would have happened this morning (specifically, at 3:22 a.m. when my brain awakened me to let me know it was ready to start the day) regardless of where my body had carried it, whether it was Vermont, North Dakota (though I’ve never been), California or the comforts of my own home.
NOTE: Because I live in the Central time zone, and I’m currently on Eastern time, my body thinks it’s one hour earlier. Apparently, my brain doesn't give a shit, but that’s just the way it goes with my brain when it wants to spin; like it has a mind of its own. (I couldn’t resist.)
Maybe you can identify. If you can, you can empathize. If you can’t, I envy you. Because while “An idle brain is the devil’s playground” (per Harold Hill in The Music Man), an overactive brain “ain’t no party neither” (per David Haznaw at 4:07 a.m., May 2, 2022).
Sometimes, a spinning brain works to my advantage. It gives me ideas, occasionally ones I can use: for work, for the good of others, to improve parts of my life, or at least, to tweak my golf swing (something one can argue rarely works to my advantage).
Other times, like this morning, it just connects with my stomach, leaving me with that feeling one gets just before a big test when you know you haven’t studied enough ... or at all.
Why do I share this? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because lots of us feel this way but we’re too proud or reluctant to admit it. I get that, since the experience often makes us feel vulnerable, weak, or (to me, anyway) like I’m failing on some level; like everything I’m thinking about is unfinished business that I’ve let slide and now it all has to get done right … this … INSTANT, and that means with every waking moment – moments when most people are asleep – I’m falling farther behind some imaginary goal or target, one that didn’t even exist when I went to bed the night before.
Maybe it’s selfish; because the simple act of documenting this experience helps to tamp it down, if only a little, and while I feel better, you’re probably wondering why you’re still reading (revisiting the “Why should I care?” part of this piece).
Maybe it’s to reassure myself, by sharing this with you, that while uncomfortable and sometimes exhausting, this experience is not uncommon; that it happens to others, and that’s OK.
Funny thing is, as much as my brain frustrates me, makes my stomach flutter and causes all kinds of anxiety (often at times of the day when I can do nothing about what’s worrying me), it’s also part of me, how I operate, how I survive and how I thrive.
While I’ve lost countless hours of sleep and spent thousands of additional accelerated heartbeats thinking about so many things that don’t – or shouldn’t – matter at times of the day when others are sleeping and in all kinds of places from coast to coast, I don’t think I’d want to change anything.
That’s not entirely true. I guess I’d like to be able to control the times when this happens, and the sheer RPMs at which my brain spins. But this squirrely brain is part of me, truly in my DNA, part of my personality and who I am, and it’s gotten me this far without any arrests, major injuries or life-changing crises. And you know what? My life ain’t so bad.
So, if you are one whose mind races, sometimes on its own and occasionally out of control, know you’re not alone. There’s at least one more of you, and right now, he’s sitting in White River Junction, Vermont, waiting for the sun to come up so he can do something about the full agenda of useless stuff he’s been thinking about for the past couple hours.
And after he (that’s me, if you’re losing the story line) processes all that useless, trivial stuff, he’s going to have a wonderful day working on a fun project, with fun people in a fun place.
Here’s to the sun coming up on a new and (hopefully) relaxing day.
© 2022 David R. Haznaw