Dr. Clarence Trausch
The Nighttime Musings of a Fourteen Year Old Girl
Dear Doctor T,
I have had trouble sleeping, and sometimes wake with these kinds of thoughts. I actually think about this a lot, and I feel like the “universe” is making me go through constant dumb little problems in life to make sure I’m ready for the important ones. It’s like I’m not allowed to enjoy anything for too long because something always comes and ruins it. For a long time this made me really upset, but now I’m starting to feel like it means something.
Also, I can’t really ever do anything wrong like normal kids my age do, because I eventually have some type of consequence. And, I have to confess about what I did or I don’t feel right. It’s like that’s not how I’m “supposed” to be, because I’m not wired to be a bad kid. But, all these little problems come up in different situations until I fix them or get so sick of the stupidity of them that I stop caring.
It seems I’m cursed with this overwhelming urge to think all the time. To over-analyze what I do, and then to feel like I need to do the right thing. I’ve come to this crazy conclusion that maybe I’m actually built by the universe to be on a mission my whole life. And the universe is saying that if I’m off track for too long, it’s going to kick me in the butt and get me going again. It’s weird because I know this doesn’t happen to every kid my age. At least not like this. It seems that they don’t care much about what their purpose is. Not that I know either, but I seem to be more aware about this kind of thing. I just don’t know why this comes up and why this all happens. Please help me with this. Danielle S.
Your nighttime reflections are so important, and so deeply reflective, that they deserve a comprehensive response. Perhaps your musings will also provoke interest in other readers in various phases of this dilemma, or who have had similar thoughts, but put them aside unaddressed. Let’s give it a try!
My initial response to your nocturnal reverie is that, as it is, it needs no further examination or comment in order to be thought-provoking and beneficially instructive to virtually everyone! All that needs to be done is to read and reread it and let the insights emerge as understanding grows. The observations you make do stimulate insights!
That being said, let’s discuss assorted points you mention. You raise a variety of problems:
“…I feel like the universe is making me go through these dumb, little problems,” and “…I’m not allowed to enjoy anything for too long,” and “…I’m cursed with this overwhelming urge to think all the time.”
Interestingly, these are problems you immediately solve yourself! Right in the same nighttime reflections:
“…to make sure I’m ready for the important ones,” and“…if I’m off the track for too long it (the universe) is going to kick me in the butt,” and “…until I fix them (problems), or get so sick of the stupidity of them that I stop caring,” and “…maybe I’m actually built by the universe to be on a mission....”
You see! Your inner wisdom is working. Just because you don’t have PROOF that your spontaneous potential solutions to each problem you raise are true, or real, does not mean that they are shabby considerations or solutions!
Or that they are not, after all, CORRECT!
Rather, it seems you have been imparted with more penetrating insight into life’s problems than most—AS WELL AS solutions to actually treat them. These talents enable you to travel farther than perhaps most people into the unknown realms of existence, and to be prepared for and encounter the really big questions like “Where did I come from?” and “Why am I here?” and “Where am I going?” This is where the philosophers, sages, and other thinkers hang out. They do not let these paradoxes and mysteries weaken or tire them. People who are infused with insights like yours learn to take them on and improve and advance their lives with them.
The important consideration here is that you can think! And you are thinking! How great is that! With this capacity you will be able to learn and do so many things, solve so many problems, contribute so much to life and your fellow humans. What’s necessary is to FIRST learn to bring this big mind of yours under control. Not to feel abused by it, and the “Universe.” How to do that, you may ask? Well, listen now to what some great thinkers have to say about these life troubles:
The first thinker is one of the most well known authors/philosophers in the world, and below he is talking to another world famous author/philosopher who is having “thinking problems” and life problems much greater than yours….
“Forget your personal tragedy. We are all hitched from the start and you especially have to hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But, when you get the damned hurt, use it—don’t cheat with it. Be as faithful to it as a scientist.”
--Ernest Hemingway writing to F. Scott Fitzgerald
What Hemingway is saying to Fitzgerald is that these hurts are precious! That they prompt a person, and lead a person to seek answers, like a life-scientist, and solve the problem of suffering.
Here is another famous author—although she was blind and deaf, and just a girl. But, she could think!”
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. It is only through trial and suffering that the soul can be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” --Helen Keller (1880-1968)
This young blind and deaf handicapped girl HAD to suffer. And, from it she learned how to become the huge character and philosopher that taught so many of us how to live and how to be happy, as she learned through herself and her guide, Anne Sullivan.
You seem to have something of this aptitude, for at your young age you are taking on the hard questions. Once again, if you would close in on and learn some secrets of those BIG answers, your job is to embrace this suffering (as Hemingway and Keller and so many other great minds have taught) and enlist this suffering—yes, use it—in the service of cultivating your mind in the secrets of happiness.
Suffering must be defined as a TOOL that drives you to seek the meaning of life, and then forge on to the happiness that such knowledge bestows. You will need to add more inspirational reading to your already busy school life, and then seek a wise teacher , like young Helen did, to guide you through the lessons necessary to understand the nature of happiness and its source. Happy hunting!