Sometimes I find myself obsessively conserving things, like my grandfather used to do. Or trying to consume every little particle of food on my plate, as if still trying to be a part of that "clean plate club" he was always going on about.
I've often wondered if it's something I learned from him, or if it might just be genetic. I was always told that he grew up during the great depression, and that might have had a lot to do with it.. but if that's the case, what's my excuse?
Oh wait, I haven't exactly been living comfortably all these years. At least in his day, it was normal. It was hard on everyone.
I haven't met many people who know what it's like, going decades without being able to afford a car. At times, not even a bicycle. Scouring my apartment for another 12 cents, so I could at least buy myself a donut or something. Have you ever eaten a jar of mustard, because you ate the last of the salsa, yesterday?
It occurs to me that I could easily have been someone asking strangers if they had any spare change, so that I could get something to eat. If I weren't so afraid of people. I got by, but I sure as hell wasn't letting anything go bad in the back of the fridge.
This may seem self-pitying, but that's only part of the point. It's also just that I don't know if anyone else even knows this. I don't know if people are aware of it. I don't know how much it matters.
My therapist caught me off-guard with a question I'd never thought of, the other day. She pointed out that I create these scenarios in my head, where I'm speculating on what everyone else is thinking. As I understood it, to be asking if it made much sense to base my decisions on something so entirely of my own fabrication.
This feels kind of foundational, a paradigm shift I can't even imagine. Acting, without regard to what other people are thinking? That would be like acting in spite of gravity. It would be like navigating a maze, by realizing that there are no walls.
I don't know. These walls feel more important to me than anything else I can think of. Maybe I can't see them, but I know that they're there. I sure as hell know when I bump into one. I'm just trying to figure out where they're most likely to be.
I'm inclined to say that our thoughts and feelings are what life is all about. OUR thoughts. Not just mine.. but I'm not entirely closed off to the possibility that I've made some sort of egregious miscalculation.
At the very least, it may have something to do with why I have no money.