Sometimes I spend too much time thinking. Sometimes I spend waaaay too much time thinking. And then the thoughts pile up and crash along the shore of my brain like ocean waves on the beach. Moms of teenagers spend a lot of time in their cars. And this mom, when she spends a lot of time in her car, spends a lot of that time thinking.
The other day, while tooling around town, caught in that liminal state of not-quite-awake, driving (literally) on autopilot, I pondered how many times I’d done the same thing, driven the same route, to the point where, occasionally, I’ll start driving to someplace and halfway there I “wake up” to the fact that I suddenly have no idea where I was driving to. And then I’ll play this bizarre game with my brain, going back to what I left with, what my intention was when I left the house, and what road I’m sitting on, in an attempt to recreate the purpose of my journey. Please tell me I’m not alone in this. That other people get so caught up in their thoughts that they forget their actions of the moment. Which, come to think of it, is probably why I play so much music when I drive. Cause if I play music, it usually has lyrics, and if there are lyrics, I’ll sing them. And if I’m singing I am much more connected to my body and the reality around me. Bad idea to space out while driving.
The realization that I felt like I was dreaming-of-driving while actually driving brought to my mind the article I read some months back that some scientists postulate our Universe is much closer to the Matrix than we ever believed. That perhaps our “reality” is nothing more than some super sophisticated hologram projected on our brains by God or some superior entity. And whether it is or it isn’t, something that sophisticated would be completely beyond our ability to distinguish from being actual physical reality.
It made me think about how much of our modern world is based on things that aren’t “real”. Or at least, not quite real. Things like, oh say, the Internet. The way that things like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc., not to mention the news outlets, shape our thinking and opinions about life, the universe, and everything.
How we are bombarded by advertisements everywhere we go – online, in magazines, on the road, in the stores themselves. I picked up my latest issue of Good Housekeeping, the subscription a gift from a family member, to read what looked like an interesting article on Halloween decor and food, and was immediately disgusted by just how much of the darn thing was advertisements for medicines I don’t need, clothes I won’t wear, household things I can’t afford, and product I don’t use. Ick.
Aaaaand, this would be why I barely read magazines anymore. I don’t really need any more artificial realities in my life. Reading most any of the “popular” ones these days produces the interesting effect of me suddenly feeling the need to sell my house and most of my stuff and pick up and move my family to the middle of Africa, in hopes of finding some slice of life that’s not airbrushed or Instagram filtered. A little extreme, I admit.
Which brings me to the other thing I’ve been pondering as I tool around town. The fact that since leaving organized church 8 years ago, I find myself with a lot more “free time” than I ever expected. I put that in quotes because, as a busy mom, there are always household things I could be doing with my time. But since nobody ever lay on their death bed wishing they spent more time cleaning, well, I’ve been looking for meaningful things to do with it. In other words, things that are Real.
And here is where my thoughts start to trip over themselves and pile up. Because I am trying to simultaneously think of life trajectories from my past, and ones from my present, all at the same time. The past may inform the present, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a viable option for today. Also, having learned the lesson from the many church-hats I used to wear that busy does not equal happy or fulfilled, I am reluctant to simply go out and volunteer anywhere and everywhere. I want something that uses my gifts and talents – something that is uniquely mine. Something that uses both my brain and my creativity.
Whether we are living in a hologram or no, I want my new venture to be meaningful to the world-as-it-exists, even if we are just an idea in some cosmic Being’s head…..