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I Guess I’m A Ruminator Now

I’m trying to think. Fuck off.

Do you know what it is to ruminate? It’s either the Engrish for a Japanese guy turning on the lights, or it’s what it actually means: to ponder deeply. (It also means to chew cud, which is appropriate, given how lost cows get in their cow-thoughts: I’m food, I’m food, I’m food, I’m food…) Those with anxiety ponder the minutiae of their daily concerns until they stack. For example, if it’s cloudy outside, will it be cold? Should I take a sweater? Do I have a clean sweater? Do I need to do laundry? Do I have time to do laundry? Do I have soap to do laundry? Do I need to go to the store to get the soap I need to do laundry? But what if it’s too cold to go to the store, what with all the clouds and me without a sweater?

Ruminators, like yours truly, do this more retroactively. We don’t dwell on what if as much as why didn’t I. This is usually spurred by guilt—which means, for me, is usually spurred by my children. Whenever I don’t feel as though I’ve mommed well enough, I immediately regress into my inner bulletin board, carefully reviewing the pushpins of personal decisions as well as the yarn of continuity binding them together. (This will be my most hackneyed analogy, I promise.) Why didn’t I back out of my marriage while is was merely bad? Why didn’t I go to grad school like I planned? Why didn’t I try to support myself sooner? Why didn’t I stand up for myself instead of always apologizing? And so on.

To be clear, I’m not talking about regret. Regret is an emotional sting; rumination convinces you there’s an answer. Somewhere in my meandering bullshit is a straight line—a linear path that will serendipitously explain why my life has arrived at this point, and why people behave as they sometimes do. Perhaps it’s my hopeful nature, as I seem to have a hard time rationalizing shit and it’s unwavering tendency to happen. It makes more sense for me to believe nothing is random… but that’s not true, is it? Sometimes, despite our strongest efforts, people (even the ones we love) can just be assholes.

Perfect (even if I’m not) Steak

The ruins of rumination.

  • New York steaks 
  • sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • garlic powder
  • oregano

Liberally season steaks with salt, pepper, garlic powder and oregano. Grill to desired doneness (medium-rare is desired, dummy). Let steaks rest at least 5 minutes before serving. We had ours with the world’s best baked potatoes (rub russets with olive oil and salt, bake at 350˚ for about an hour) and steamed broccoli. I’m full. I’m happier.

Yes, this post was the result of Something Happening to me. I won’t go into what, as it’s still unresolved and very private. Let’s just say I spent the weekend paging through my unwritten autobiography, looking for answers. It was in this search that I discovered the concept of rumination, and it provided the explanation I needed to find at the exact moment I needed to find it. My vivre might not have the joie I would prefer, but I think I’m in a better place to be gentler with myself. I promise to bring the funny (and sexy, you have no idea) next post. For now… vegans suck? Okay.

TWTG says, “Yeah, but I didn’t go through it with a mom-toothed comb.”


6 responses »

  1. I have had similar thought processes. What if I had taken chance x or not done idiotic thing y. Should I have studied harder or worked harder in the past. The fact is, that I have a family that could only have come from my chance meeting with the woman who would become my wife. My son is an amazing personality and I don’t know what aspect developed when I worked too hard or quit unwisely. I’m not willing to change anything that led to this moment. All I have is right now and an unwillingness to let that go. I’m sure that I could have done something in the past to make more money or be more successful. As it stands, I can pine or look forward and I like the future. I like the present too by the way. Neither gains by my replaying the past in ways other than it happened. I’m reading this and it looks like I am recovering from some tragedy. I’m not. Learn and move on. Second guessing is frustrating and fruitless.
    It should be noted: I have hosted a barbeque and am currently full of wine. Any statements about never regretting the past will be reviewed and reassessed when I read this in the morning. So whatever “was the result of Something Happening” to you I hope it all works out.

    • Hey Ben! I’ve been lax in my replying but I’m here doing my blogging duty tonight. I’m really pretty happy. Sometimes shit happens and it sends me into a little spiral but thank God and antidepressants that I can now pick myself up and move on rather than wallowing in self pity. Life goes on, doesn’t it? And as I like to remind myself often, you only go round once so make the most of it each and every day.

  2. I am going to try that recipe, looks simple and good!

  3. sigh. i think it’s very brave that you are not placing blame anywhere, especially not entirely on yourself. decisions are like assholes, we all have wiped them at some point. or something like that. i think it’s great that you are THINKING about this stuff. no judgments! like you said, you got to the place you are at now. THAT’S the important thing.


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