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The Boy Who Thought Too Much..

February 22, 2015

Random thought I had just now.  As those of you who know me know, I’m one of those guys who is *always* thinking.  Like, non-stop thinking.  Olympic marathon thinking. And it’s fine for me because it’s something that is second nature to me – my brain works fast, it takes no effort and I’m normally at the end of a puzzle before everyone else has finished reading the instructions.  And I don’t mean this in a boastful way, but just it what it is – everyone is good at something, and that’s a thing that I got born with. The frustrating part for me is that it’s often quite alienating – both for me because I’m constantly waiting for people around me to catch up and, even more so, because it genuinely upsets me to see how exhausting I can be for people I care about.  I may be borderline Hawking-like in the brains department, but I’m lucky enough to be either hyper-empathetic or just unnaturally adept at intellectually deconstructing human psychology.  Either way, the net result is about the same.

Anyway, the point is that it just occurred to me that – I wonder whether the reason that I think so much is something I was born with, or whether it’s a direct byproduct of how I grew up?  I mean, without rehashing all the gory details, I learnt very clearly at a *very* young age EXACTLY how unpredictable adults could be, both from things I saw them do around me and things I saw them do to me.  And not even the general tedious TV Movie Of The Week shit you see on basic cable, but really unfathomable, weird stuff that most people even as adults don’t truly understand exists outside of independent cinema or Aronofsky films.  But, for me, it was just how I grew up.

And, to be perfectly honest, I’ve never even really cared.  Sure – there are things that happened to me that I don’t think any child should ever be exposed to, ever.  But I’ve never really understood the impulse to sit around and mope about things that are done.  Like – you can’t change the past, so what’s the point of making the time you have left even shittier than the time that preceded it, ya know?  Don’t get me wrong – I’m a big believer in always remembering things, and analysing situations that happen.  But only because that’s the only real way you can ever learn from something.  Or, even better, learn how to make sure it never happens again.  And, looking back, I had such a long, random, weird ass laundry list of childhood traumas and teenage tragedies that fell across my path that it’s almost comical at times.  But that’s why I have such a grounded perspective in life.  I learned so early on that real serious shit really fucking happens, so I learned not to take so many mundane things seriously.  And that sense of perspective is what opened me up to being able to experience such pure joy in so many ordinary, little things that most people around me never even notice.

But I guess the thing that I’d never thought about before was the whole nature vs nurture aspect of my MENSA-ness.  I appreciate and am truly grateful for how nimble and practical and emotionally astute my mind is every single day, but I wonder if I would even have that had things been different growing up.  My ability to so astutely psychologically profile someone within a minute of meeting them is one of my favourite things I can do, and yet I wonder if that is purely a by-product of learning the full spectrum of human behaviour by the time I was in grade school.  If I didn’t so innately understand exactly what people are truly capable of – both bad AND good – would I have ever developed the ability to be a mere birthplace away from being an FBI Profiler or something?

The problem is, once you’ve learned fully that people are literally capable of any random unpredictable action or thought as a reaction to any situation ever, it because near impossible to ever stop running numbers, crunching variables and imagining twenty seven potential outcomes to any given mundane interaction. Which is a great life skill if you were in an emergency, or playing Survivor, but it’s just exhausting sometimes in day to day life, because I basically understand the people around me incredibly well but also find them just completely baffling and illogical.  I might always end up being right, but I also end almost always being by myself, even in a room full of everyone.

I guess I’ve always been someone who truly believes in finding the good in anything, not because I’ve read too many self-help books, but because I’m an inherently practical person.  And I’m just curious I guess how much of this particular skill I owe to certain people.  And wonder if there is a way to better socially streamline it so I don’t keep hurting the handful of people I truly care about.  Because it’s wonderful to be able to know someone better than they know themselves, but it’s lonely as hell too.

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