From deep in thought to pulled into conversation: Changing directions like Titanic

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Credit Stephan Gürtler. I like this image because as a representation of being lost in thought, it shows a peacefulness of the experience. Being a deep thinker doesn’t have to mean a chaotic frame of mind or that it’s painful; it can be calming and enjoyable.

I’m a deep thinker. I can get lost in my thoughts very easily. It’s a comfortable place to be. There’s just so much to consider!

I can’t live there permanently, though. There are other people in my life. Yet, it can be challenging to transition from my thoughts to a conversation with someone, especially if I’m being pulled into that conversation. Sometimes I don’t want to leave my bubble. So there may be some deliberate or subconscious resistance, a longing to continue with what I’m doing rather than acknowledging that someone is trying to get my attention.

I feel like this might be a similar experience for someone who is accused of having selective hearing. You’re so absorbed in whatever you’re thinking about, that you lose track of the things around you.

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From happy to angry in 2 seconds

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The holiday season reminds me of times when I was a kid and we had relatives come for a visit, especially those we didn’t see often. We might spend the day together or just a few hours. I was happy around them. The visit was pleasant without any hiccups.

I remember being on the front porch waving goodbye to them. And there would be a very real and noticeable internal shift. It was like a flipped switch; I went from happy to annoyed in an instant.

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Learning through example of family life

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As junior year began, I no longer had 8 am classes yet I wanted to continue going to daily mass. There was some relief. The time was changed to 7, so I could sleep in some!

The later time brought in a new demographic of the parish. No longer solely retirees and individuals rushing off to work, now there were also mothers with children. The home schooling crowd.

There was a wide range in ages. I was impressed by their reverence, how serious they were about being there. The younger ones weren’t always cooperative; they are human of course. Generally speaking, though, they seemed to have a greater sense of awareness of what was going on than I did at that age.

Introductions were made. Though life was busy and chaotic for them, I was fortunate to meet women who had found a sense of calm within their routines so they could be open to welcoming a stranger.

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When you get friend-zoned (with poem)

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To recap: I had an experience in college where a guy showed interest in me but I didn’t feel the same way. Then there was an experience where positive things were happening on both sides (at the very least they were some indicators of potential), but nothing developed. So it’s fitting to have a third kind of relationship, the unrequited type.

I met “D” in an intermediate basketball class. I wanted something fun and active for the semester. Honestly it should have been considered a beginner’s course, considering how much time was spent on the history of the game and other theoretical information and how little was actually played on the court.

After that class ended, I started seeing “D” more frequently on campus. Instead of exchanging phone numbers, he asked for my screen name because AOL instant messaging (AIM) was the popular mode for online communication.

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Brotherly advice wins out

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My brother Andrew is two years older than me, but he was three grade levels ahead because I repeated 4K.

He finished two years of college before deciding he felt called to be a priest. He made the decision to continue that discernment process by entering the seminary. So as I began my senior year of high school, he started seminary.

My parents and I had some indication this might be the right direction for him, so it wasn’t a total shock. But he was dating someone at the time, so he had to break that off.

I was very proud of my brother. Proud of him for taking such a big leap and giving himself a chance to see if this was the right path. I was proud of him for going through formation and receiving a proper education, more relevant for priestly responsibilities than what he would receive at a public university.

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Allusions of Myself: The making of a poem

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We did these exercises in high school where we wrote ourselves a letter, most likely highlighting our goals for the future. Then the teacher collected them and maybe one year later (or five), we received them in the mail. At the time of writing, it seemed silly to write out your goals, completely convinced there’s no way you’re going to forget what’s important. But you do. The elapsed time prompts other interests and priorities. Opening that letter means grasping a piece of the past; tangible evidence of the person you were back then.

That’s how I feel with revisiting my old journals; I’m uncovering buried treasure.

I was reading through my college journals recently and came across several pages where I did some brainstorming for a new poem.

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A boy + social awkwardness + missed signals = college regret

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“G” was a guy worth taking a risk on, and I balked. He was easy going, had a contagious laugh and smile, and intelligence with a goofy side. He was shorter than me but somehow in a way that didn’t make it completely weird. I never saw him get angry. He had enough confidence in himself to be attractive without coming across as conceited. And the bonus was he worked well with kids.

So yeah. There wasn’t much of a risk to liking this guy. This didn’t have “bad decision” stamped on it. I just didn’t know how to handle the situation.

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When you’re NOT interested in a guy’s attention

hires-copyHe was a non-traditional student, about 10 years older and I think pursuing an undergraduate degree. I had met him through PACT, but I believe the first real opportunity to talk happened on the statewide retreat. He wasn’t Catholic, but he was interested in learning about the faith.

I remember being with a small group of people at the retreat, and then slowly others broke off for other things. And it was just the two of us. I wasn’t super comfortable around him, but I couldn’t just leave him. He seemed so alone, and I felt bad for him.

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Strange new world: College independence

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The experience of Move In Day at college is meant to be a joyful and happy occasion, right? Sure you have mixed emotions on both sides; teens finally get that taste of freedom and independence while parents are forced to consider what life will be like without their child at home. But in general you’re supposed to be happy and hopeful, aren’t you?

I wanted to be like the girl in the above photo. I wanted to exude gratitude for my parents’ help with transporting my belongings from home to campus. To be grateful for all of the effort with lugging my boxes and oddly-shaped objects up 5 flights of stairs. To welcome the assistance with not just dumping things inside the doorway but to begin finding homes for each book and article of clothing. To figure out the perfect spot on the wall for my dry erase board, which would serve as a visual reminder for assignments.

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Poem: Questions for My Sister

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I grew up with Andrew, my brother who is two years older, but we have a sister, too. She was stillborn because of umbilical cord complications. She would have been three years older than me.

My parents named her Lauren Elizabeth.

While growing up, I’d often wonder how our family would be different if she were alive. How our relationships would be different. Thinking of how maybe, just maybe, when I felt like I couldn’t confide in anyone else, I probably would have been able to turn to her. Longing for that sisterly advice. I generally got along great with my brother, but there are just some topics you can’t really bring up.

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