Keepin' On

"I figure I can either quit, or keep on going. I choose Keepin' On."

My Little Universe

Apparently an explanation is in order. I occasionally make reference in this column to the Little Universe Inside My Head. This refers to the place inside me that holds all of the ways that I feel or wish life should be. It is a realm of fantasies, dreams, and possible solutions regarding the world and its mysteries.

Much of human behavior is an enigma. People and I am a prime example, do admittedly strange things. For example, we have all passed a slow car that then speeds up, passes us and then returns to its previous slow speed. I really don’t want the driver of that car to be crazy, so I imagine that he or she has always wanted to be, say, a drum major and just needs to be in front leading the band. Or: People who straighten other peoples’ pictures. I like to think they are in a reality show contest and if they can adjust twelve more frames that do not belong to them, they win a prize. Here is another: I am rarely in a hurry, so when the check out line I pick turns out to be the slowest one, I like to believe that it is my gift to those in other lines who now get to go faster.

In the Little Universe, people drive courteously and clerks really care what I need. I am also slightly taller and definitely younger. It is my own private heaven and it invariably makes me smile.

I probably first developed my Little Universe when someone told me I could feel less nervous in front of a crowd if I imagined all of them naked. To be honest, I did very little of this because, let us be real here, very few of us look that good naked. Doing too much of that, I feared, could result in developing some nasty twitching. But the idea of being able to retreat for a moment into my own world and make a situation a little more fun or tolerable was appealing. It is certainly better than letting stuff get to me and ruining my day.

If you have never tried this, I invite you to join in. Here is how. Think of something that irritates you. Now take a mental step back from it by realizing that it probably is not designed for the sole purpose of making your life miserable. Then imagine some alternate explanation. Feel free to bring in science fiction and fantasy sprinkled with a sense of humor and absurdity.

Let us try this with being “on hold,” which can be very frustrating. In the Little Universe you discover that you are not just on hold on the phone, but on hold from life. When others see that you are on hold, they do not bother you. “Sorry,” they say. “We did not know you were on hold.” And they go away. Being on hold becomes a time of quiet escape. Sometimes I bring a book and a few snacks.

Now that I have mastered the Little Universe game (patent pending), life generally goes better. Prior to this, things seemed to bother and irritated me. Thanks to my Little Universe, this occurs far less often. There is no problem separating the two worlds, in case you were worried. So it is safe to develop your own.

Maybe you already have. I would love to hear from you about your own Little Universes. Send me your tales and stories that help you deal with the world and the people who inhabit it and we will pass the fun around. Your Keepin’ On Tip for the Day: Take a break inside your own Little Universe

About Jim Thomson

Husband, father, grandfather, counselor, and writer.

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