Fortune Cookie:meditation on vague messages
From a couple nights ago at dinner:
Good opportunities: Make up your mind to grasp the next.
Hard to know when the next good opportunity will come along. But let's break it down (because that's what we do here).
1. Define "opportunity"
Presumably this refers to the one kind I really care about: a job
2. Define "good"
Still trying to figure out if I'm capable of recognizing "good" when it comes along? My therapist said that my judgment is dysfunctional because I'm depressed.
Nothing like being told your judgment is dysfunctional to make you feel even more helpless and hopeless!
3. "Make up your mind"
This makes me laugh. One of the worst things lately has been feeling indecisive. I have been chalking this up to depression, thanks to my therapist telling me it's a symptom. However, my therapist also noted, as I did, that I seemed to get more depressed as we went along. This is probably because she was telling me it was all my fault and that I'm defective, but that I shouldn't blame myself. What?? It made no sense. So I stopped therapy.
4. "to grasp"
As in, to not let slip by. This also makes me laugh. On the one hand, my therapist said one of the reasons I've gotten into these awful situations (not my fault, but yes, my fault) is because I just grabbed what seemed like the only option at the time. On the other hand, when you "pause", as my therapist told me to do, you miss your chance(s). As they like to say, not choosing is also a choice. I have to say though, when you're exhausted all the time, it doesn't feel like a choice. It feels like a disability.
5. "the next"
This is how I have always been taught to think.
The next time, I'll do this differently. The next chance I get, I'll say something about this. The next time this happens, I'll know better.
The next. The next. The next.
Never the now. Never seize this moment, this is it, make the best of it.
More like you'll probably fuck this up, but there's always next time when you might know better.
Come to think of it, this is the perfect attitude to have in research. A certain humility coupled with persistence, right? It reminds me of a clip I saw advertising the DVD edition of that cop/firefighter show called Third Watch. The guy is telling his partner something like "What makes you great at your job makes you terrible at being a person."
One of the things I hate about fortune cookies is their vague time limit. I got one a few years back that said:
The current year will bring you great happiness.
At the time, I read it as meaning that year would be a great year. And it was wrong about that. And yet, technically it could still be true, it was just my interpretation that was wrong. Stupid vague fortune sat in my desk reminding me to try to be optimistic. All year. But you could also take it to mean that something I was doing then will eventually pay off.
Are we there yet?
I think fortunes should have an expiration date, even if the cookies could ostensibly outlive us all. It might be less confusing, anyway.