“A train of thought tracks life differently in time due to moments of personal expression.”
I keep reading this quote over and over, trying to figure out what it means. I suppose one option is it means nothing. Someone fit some words together that sounded cool, but really didn’t expect for it to mean anything.
Maybe it was meant to be felt and not dissected. That’s possible too. It reminds me of when we read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in junior high. Mark Twain starts out with a notice that says, “Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.” Then as a class we proceeded to do just that.
So here I am again, choosing to ignore a writer’s direction, trying to decipher words strung together in a musical cadence. So what do they mean (to me)? For me, I think depending on where I am in my life, what I have learned or experienced, my recollection of points in my life change. I may look at a moment I experienced as a child or young adult with a more mature view and experience that moment differently.
For example, when I was in 4th grade headed into 5th grade, I wanted to change schools. The Catholic school I went to had a dress code and they were getting more strict, now requiring the students to wear either white or navy socks. Seeing that the only freedom we had was towear different color socks, I decided I wanted to go to public school. I would not be forced to wear navy or white socks.
Later in life, laughing about this story I had told multiple times, I then also remembered how this one “friend”was starting to exclude me from our group of friends. She stopped inviting me to sleepovers and wouldn’t talk to me on the playground. After being told I didn’t need to be invited to everything, I see myself in my memory like I am watching a movie, sitting alone on the hill of the field and feeling really sad and isolated. Having grown up with myself all these years, it’s possible that my change in schools wasn’t about the socks. Those trains of thoughts can jut off into multiple directions and life can look different at every one of those angles.
It’s so interesting how your mind really can play tricks on you. Thoughts run wild and you can convince yourself of some pretty crazy things. Then years later you look back and try to figure out how you got to where you are standing. A moment in college when I was so lost that I decided I was going to drive to Colorado and live in hostels for the summer. Me. The person that has difficulty talking to strangers. The person that takes about 2 years to become friends with someone. I was going to go live in hostels and I don’t know, play hacky sack with mountain folk? What train of thought was I on? I did not end up driving to Colorado. A good friend at the time, after hearing my plans, talked me into picking up our paychecks and spending the day with him in Lincoln. I don’t remember anything about that day, all I remember is I was grateful that he cared enough to stop me from going.
A friendship ruined because honest words were spoken that cut a little too deep. Looking back, it’s possible I judged someone too harshly and tried to control decisions that weren’t mine to control. And as I type this, I can feel the trains of thoughts moving through because it all does track life differently. Depending on my mood, depending on what I’ve experienced, it all changes. And you never know when your perspective is going to change. Personal expression to me means I’ve taken a stand on something, I now feel confident that I believe in something enough to say it out loud. Or at least truly feel it. Then that alters your train of thought which then tracks your life differently. Jumping from track to track. It all leads to the same place, but life changes. Memories change.
We convince ourselves of so many things. Our brains are fascinating. A friend told me about an article she read that was saying in order for humans to not be replaced by computers, we have to continue focusing on our ability to have deep thoughts. I love the idea of this, and I completely agree. However, is anyone else afraid of how deep our thoughts can go and how we can basically change our past reality depending on what path we take with them? I’m not really sure I am making any sense at this point, but maybe that is the point of the quote. Because I have been staring at it for a week and even with all these words I am not sure I am closer to the meaning. But I do know I feel every inflection in that sentence and I know it means something profound, even if I can’t put more words on top of it to explain it in a way that makes sense.