Interrupting my west coast road trip for some deep thinking and looking for a little input, friends.
At a time in my life when I can almost taste what might come next, I’m thinking about thinking. Specifically, how do I process the things I am exposed to – experiences, culture, different philosophies, opinions, etc? Is “my” way an evolution or a fixed pattern? How does one develop the ability to be reflective and interpretative when their entire life has been necessarily literal?
But, first, some background.
Growing up, there was little room for fanciful thoughts or intellectual theories. We had “real” things to deal with like “had the utilities been paid?” and “were we really moving again?” Life was about catching up and the only way to do that was to deal with the reality of the situation.
By the time I made my way to college, a phrase that only suggests how hard I worked to get myself accepted into SUNYA, on some level I was ready to expand my mind and think about life with more speculative and critical eyes. Unfortunately, I didn’t really know what that meant.
Literary Theory, (Eng 210, I believe), provided the experience of having my mind blown by the new knowledge that literature could be read with a specific lens, one that was in fact much more structured and organized than I had ever imagined. To me, words told a story, there was no meaning beyond what had literally happened. I didn’t know about theme and symbolism and
But, I learned.
After college, the pressure and almost singular focus on achieving stability and security through my marriage, parenting and career occupied my time and energy. There wasn’t time for philosophy, not when there were house repairs to diagnose and figure out how to pay to complete and laundry to be done and dinner to be made.
Looking back on what life was about then, what I most remember was a sense of basic survival. It was fundamental in so many ways.
So, now I’m at a place where my existence is reasonably comfortable. I’ve kept all the plates up and spinning for so long that it’s become easy to maintain. My daily life has been mastered and I can now devote my attention, perhaps, to being more esoteric in my pursuits.
But, how does one expand their thought process to readily include reflection and interpretation? Is it possible to adapt one’s thought process after nearly 55 years? I’m not certain, but I’d like to learn. I know I’m intelligent and intuitive, and both of those characteristics have served me well, but I’d like to develop a more interpretive impulse.
It feels like it’s time to go deeper. Any advice for a literal woman seeking a more profoundly imaginative existence? Do you believe it is possible for a 50 something year old to expand one’s perspective in such a way?