Whatup psych math?! Could 1+1 be one and 1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1 a million? Make that 1+n  effort

This is one of those things you need to bear with me for a minute, or two, depending on your reading speed and how much reflection you do while at it. I was a smart ass as kid, who knew! Finding out math was a thing and that my dad taught math for a living lead me to a path of using math “wrong” to prove my dad wrong – solid, undeniable logic with loopholes I found funny. …My dad actually did enjoy it too.

One of my favourites, and what I still use in my work to demonstrate logic does not rule all, was the good old 1+1. My teachers told me the answer is 2, so did my dad. The economics books I got to know way later on my life, and strategy workshops and gurus too, tell it’s three, because “synergy” and whatever bullshit of “teamwork makes the dream work”; 1+1 makes more than 1. Here was my thinking as a kid; you rake a pile (1) of leaves and another pile (1) of leaves and you put them together, you have a pile (1) of leaves. 1+1=1

It was funny as a kid. Still find it useful in work settings. In my personal life? It has been an equation following my life; an equation I’ve actually used against myself. My now + a single effort = my now. Why bother? I have tried and failed, made way, and had hard as hell setbacks. But I’ve tried. I’ve tried and tried and tried. I’ve tried and found myself back where I started, maybe even worse. I’ve had momentarily wins, I’ve had the highs of running away and moving around. But. I’ve felt like I’m still where I was, not making any way forward, especially not with that single thing of action.

So. Childhood. I had a lot of reoccurring nightmares as a kid. One of them was of me walking down a street in my hometown and falling down because my legs could not carry me anymore. I would fall down. I could not get up. I would desperately try and stand but could not. I would see people passing by, ignoring me. No-one would stop and help. No one would acknowledge me. No one would help. I was alone. A kid. Alone.

Two weeks ago I started having those dreams again – just with a small but major a change. I would walk down a street, go to a coffee shop, cross a bridge, attend a show… I was once even a politician in my government, and once being able to fly around pirate ships to escape high jumping werewolves that looked like panthers – not sure that’s a good thing or a bad one, leave it up to the Freud enthusiasts…sorry no apparent long shapes in that dream you could interpret as penis…where was I? Right, walking. For the past couple of weeks I’ve had  these dreams where I’m somewhere, walking (or flying), and my legs start to wobble. I feel like I’m about to fall down. And instead of walking, instead of falling down? I grab a table, a chair, I might even walk faster towards a wall I see so that I can hug that wall and stay up. I know, I’m scared, I will fall down – but I don’t. I might, who knows. But I don’t. And then I wake up.  

I wake up and realize that was a dream. I wake and realize that unlike 30 years ago I now have coping strategies, resources, friends, medical help – and the will and understanding to ask for help, to get me going. I wake up realizing that all the work, the ones of adding to zero, have actually made a difference. That dream, is a fresh reminder of where I started. It is a nightly reminder of me making progress. It is a nightly reminder I am so much better off than where I started from. It is a nightly reminder I can, eventually, truly, stand on my feet.

Let’s go with airplane rules this year – you’re only allowed to carry on 10kg of baggage

Airlines are great with setting their limits – carry on 10kg, luggage 20kg. Pack what you need, or pay an extra fee. How can we learn from this? What can we learn from this? Don’t we all have 20kg of shit we wish someone else would carry, isn’t that the shit we’d be fine if someone lost? – Got the insurance for it, pay me so I can replace it. The 20kg is stuff we want but don’t necessarily need, but we keep dragging it with us. Worse if you want to take on more, the cost of it…unbearable.. And what about the 10kg? Our carry on. The stuff we actually carry on with us because we think we really really need it. Is it wort it?

I just spent an amazing 10 days in the sun, in a magical place where people were happy, the water in the pool was nice, drinks kept coming up, and the people around me were awesome. I felt so great! Maybe it’s due to the vitamin D from the sun and vitamin C from the mimosas. Or maybe it’s the swims I took in the pool, and jumps in ocean, and the exercise my abs got from laughing with the other people I met that raised my serotonin and dopamine levels. Who knows. I even felt my depression and anxiety disorders were on break; or maybe I just forgot to pack them with me?

I keep thinking about this. Currently, sure, my work could be better. I could be dating Robert Downey Jr. My apartment definitely needs a proper cleaning. I’ve run out of good shows and movies on Netflix. I really need to lose weight. I don’t have a sense of purpose in my life. So I went to the store, bought a bottle of bubbles, opened it, poured a glass and thought to myself “it’s only Tuesday but man am I stressed out. I need this.”. Then another voice popped up in my head with a super judgy voice and body language. Oh yes, you could see its body language from the tone of its voice. “Are you stressed? Are you really? …and then I’m like “yes, duh, life”…and the annoying eye-rolling voice goes on with “YOU WOKE UP AT 10, HAD ONE CALL, ATE QUESIDALLES FOR LUNCH, HAD ANOTHER CALL, AND THEN MOVED ON TO WATHING REALITY SHOWS ON NETFLIX WHILE OCCASSIONALLY TOUCHING THE MOUSEPAD ON YOUR LAPTOP SO THAT YOU WOULD STAY ON GREEN AND PEOPLE WOULD THINK YOU’RE WORKING. YOU ARE NOT STRESSED”. I was shocked. I mean, the audacity, who does this voice think they are? And how are they not on my side? Pfft.

Let’s have a play by play on this one:

  • Am I stressed at work?  – hell no. Work is super chill right now. Sure I have my frustrations, but nothing to justify a 17 litre a week wine consumption (don’t worry, I’m exaggerating for dramatic effect… I’m only at 5 now, and climbing…)
  • Am I dating Robert Downey Jr? – again no. Buuuuut. Do I live in the same city, country, continent as he does? Also no. So kinda sorta feel like dropping him a “u up?” message on Instagram would also not get me anywhere. So, I guess. Just in my dreams then Robert…
  • Cleaning my apartment – definitely. Definitely need to clean it, although… I am spending an y amount of calories every day with my clothes-pile-slalom, jumping-over-cardboard-boxes -cardio, and reaching-for-things-I-cannot-get-to- yoga…
  • Netflix? – I got HBO, and Prime video, I’m actually good on this
  • Losing weight? – yup, yup. Should could focus on this…if only I knew how…I feel like there’s a mathematic solution to this with I don’t know, maybe -1 quesadillas per week? But we also need to take into consideration the need for extra exercise if I clean my apartment…so if x=losing weight, quesadillas z, and dirty-apartment-fun-run y, we’ll get to x = z-1 + y, at minimum (let’s not factor in the wine consumption)
  • Sense of purpose – now this is a difficult one. Although I don’t think I can find it from the bottom of the bottles I destroy…maybe I should spend some of napping and Netflix time on this……….

But! …damn…what was my point again? Right! Today grabbing that glass (read: bottle) of wine was not because I was actually stressed out. That was because it was a reaction to my past experiences, my past situations, my past feelings and triggers. In this moment, I’m not stressed out. Sure, I’ve had my glass (read: bottle) of sparkling wine, but what I’m also taking out from this is that there is a lot of shit I need to seriously let go. Seriously. I’m currently fine. I’ve had years and years of not being fine, years and years where that glass or few (read: …I’m sure you know it by now…) helped me get through the night. But now? I’m not there, I’ve moved on…but my triggers haven’t…so maybe it’s time for that airplane clean up? What do I actually need in 2022+ and what do I need to let go? What’s the stuff I don’t want to carry on anymore with me………..