As wonderful as it would be were it not so, on occasion we encounter something in our lives that is bothersome. You get to your local coffee place and find the line to be a little long just when you are already running a little late in your commute, or your bookmark falls out of a book you are reading and you have difficulty finding your place, or you can have something happen to you like the following…
At my office I have a fairly central location. In a way, I am like Pam Beasly of The Office and so nearly all traffic flows by my desk at some point or another. Consequently, I hear quite a few conversations that people in other parts of the office cannot hear. This is not to say that I always want to hear the conversations — and in fact sometimes spontaneous meetings are held with my desk as the meeting ground, never mind that someone is sitting there entering data. I must come across as someone who can block out external noises well. I cannot. I notice a lot of things that many people would miss and I give too many of these things my attention and thought, much to the detriment of what I am trying to do — which is why I am grateful for having a to-do list, which keeps me focused.
One of my coworkers was discussing not only what had happened in last night’s season finale of Game of Thrones, but also its significance when related to the book series. Right now I am in the middle of reading the third book of the book series upon which the television show is based, A Song of Ice and Fire. Much of the conversation contained details that I really would have rather not heard, and I thought this was something that was known as I had explained to one of the coworkers my year long plan to read all five books in the series. (I am the sort of person who, when faced with a seemingly large task, will divide the task into manageable chunks and plan it out on a calendar rather than get immediately overwhelmed and give up.)
As I sat there working and hearing just about every word they said, I got irritated both at hearing the information and my apparent information to block out conversations that I did not want to hear. That is when something fairly interesting happened.
A couple of hours passed, and I thought back to the conversation that I had overheard. I could not remember anything they had said. I vaguely remembered a couple of points, but it all meshed together that it was easy to push out of my mind. I wondered if it was possible that even though I had heard all of the words, my not wanting to know the information made my brain push it back out.
I then thought about how much time I had spent being upset about this, and how that time was really for naught — because I had ultimately not had my reading experience spoiled as it somewhat had when I had found out about a major plot point before I had started reading one of the last Harry Potter books. It really is worth thinking about the things that are upsetting us in our lives, and then evaluating to what extent they are really problematic or are just being made larger than they really are in our minds. Thinking about the three teenagers that were kidnapped and are still missing and the fact that I was upset by hearing plot details of a fictional book makes me feel a bit silly, in retrospect.
It really comes down to perspective.