I don’t remember who I was having the deep conversation with – I tend to repeat ideas and concepts I’m contemplating across many many many conversations with anyone who will engage. It helps me refine the idea as well as get it out of my head. This is when it helps to have friends from all walks of life as you can just keep bouncing the same general concept across all of them without them talking to each other and being like “Dear god, Anne, you’ve talked to all of us about the same damn thing! We get it!” 😉 The most recent topic: squiggly lines.
I’ve started to realize that day to day, week to week, and even sometimes year to year life just feels like a massive squiggly line leading seemingly nowhere and everywhere all at once. It’s hard to see that you’ve made any forward momentum when the lines are such a mess shooting off into all directions with dead ends galore. I somewhat jokingly say that my life has some sort of chaotic event on a 2 year cycle. The event happens and then I spent two years trying to find my balance again. These events tend to send me spiraling and it wasn’t until the last 5 or so years I’ve learned to embrace the spiral and trust the direction I’m sent in.
Reframing is a powerful psychological tool that we all use in one way or another. As its name suggests, it’s about putting a situation in a new light – a new frame. The gist is that you will end up being able to more easily digest something when you reframe by hopefully seeing the same exact thing in a better, more meaning making light. The situation is the same – your perspective is just different.
My reframe for these squiggles is to view what’s happening within a wider lens over more time. It’s the same principle as stepping back to take a longer look at a painting at a museum. The dots suddenly form and the squiggles make sense. The squiggles come together to point to something greater. With this wider time lens in mind, tearing my ACL my freshmen year makes sense — it gave me way more time than I ever would have given to learn WordPress. I remember calling my dad at one point my sophomore year after spending a summer completely immersed in learning WordPress saying: “I still want to pursue psychology but this tech stuff is pretty cool. Who knows – maybe I can get a job doing something with websites”. I said it in passing but, for some reason, I remember it vividly as it was likely the moment when momentum towards this website squiggle strengthened. Fast forward a few years and I’m working for Automattic writing this post on a WordPress.com site. At the time though, I was depressed and losing my identity as an athlete.
I have some seemingly stray squiggles in my life right now. They don’t make sense as I sit here staring up close at them. What role is this squiggle going to play later in my life? I like to visually think of all of these squiggles as eventually creating a beautiful design headed in some direction.
On an even larger meta level, this is what I find fascinating about the human brain and spirit. We see faces in inanimate objects – we seek out meaning when there might not be any at all. It very well could be all chaos.