Monday, October 12, 2009

Same old Same old

I woke up this morning to falling snow: the second time in a week this has happened and it's not even the middle of October. And yet, as it is in Minnesota, by the end of the week it could be sunny and 70 degrees out. Predictability isn't a strong suit when it comes to the weather in the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes.

What about your life? How is what actually is happening different from how you see it?

I'm often either in conversations, or overhearing conversations that go something like this.

A: Hey so and so! How are you?

B I'm fine. You?

A: Yeah, me too. What have you been up to?

B Not much. You know, the same old same old."

A: Yeah, it's about the same here, expect for..."

Unless something dramatic enters into our lives, we seem to be very good and missing the smaller changes in life.

A fresh coat of snow in early October is kind of dramatic.

The slow fade of the large, green garden squash plant leaves - not so dramatic.

A cancer diagnosis is dramatic. The shift from mild sore throat to mucus-filled nose not so much.

How much of the statement "the same old same old" or ones like it is simply our devaluing of the less dramatic, greater bulk of our lives? Even if you, personally, value those things, I'm guessing a lot of the time, you, too, suppress these things in order to conform to cultural expectations and/or not to bore others. I know I do.
If you bring up the ballgame, or TV show X, or concert Y, then you have something to talk about. If you tell someone about the albino squirrel you saw chasing a half dozen other squirrels up and down an old oak tree, you'll receive many a glazed over looks.

This is part of the separation occurring in our lives. It's just one of the many ways we fail to be present, and to embody being present with others. It's strikes me that often we have a strong preference to have something dramatic to report to others about our lives. Either that, or we just say nothing is new. Which is false - there's always something unfolding, but often we just can't see it. Or we see it, but discount it. Or believe others will have no interest. And living in a society that trains us to not have an interest in a lot of our actual lives, many people aren't interested.

So, given all this, what to do? If you don't start examining your need for the dramatic, you'll miss the bulk of your life, guaranteed.


spldbch said...

I agree -- we certainly discount the small things in life. I'm no exception. I often have a hard time thinking of a reply to the question, "What's been going on with you?" I think sometimes I'm looking for a socially appropriate response because most of the time when people ask that question they're not looking for an honest response.

Great post -- I'm going to try to pay more attention to "what's going on in my life." The next time someone asks me maybe I'll have an answer:-)

Adam said...

"And living in a society that trains us to not have an interest in a lot of our actual lives, many people aren't interested."

Spot on