Do you have blind spots? If so, I suggest putting a chalk line around them to remind yourself that this is mental dead space. You can’t learn anything new there because your blind spots are taking up space where new thoughts could be coming to life. For example:
I’ve gone bean blind. So many beans. French string beans. I’ve been picking beans for so long I can’t see anything but beans, and then I think I’ve picked them all, and I step over to look at the squash and the dahlias, and then I look back at the beans, and there are the 25 beans I missed. I was looking right at them, but I didn’t see them because I was bean blind. Couldn’t see what was right in front of me. Are my eyes playing tricks on my brain or is my brain playing tricks on my eyes? Either way, sometimes I just don’t see what’s actually there. I obviously have real blind spots. Now, on the third anniversary of living with my cohabitant, the idea of going bean blind seems especially relevant.
It took me a while to get over the shock of living here. Not my style, not my stuff. But the landscape is extraordinary, and so is the guy. Still, it’s possible to go bean blind after three years of mancave aesthetics, loud music, and stepping on rubber worms. Hmm. That sounds petty. But that’s what I’m talking about. What am I focused on? What am I missing? In the beginning I had so much to say about our differences, I was a critic, and he was Mr. Nice Guy. Now that history is a blur. I have to read my journal to remember the anxiety that plagued me. I’m at home here now. So if there’s a risk in our relationship, it’s not that I’m unhappy, it’s that I’m complacent. Not seeing what’s really there.
Has this ever happened to you? Maybe with your partner, or your best friend, or your kids, or somebody you work with? Is your brain keeping up with their changes? I remember when my marriage was falling apart 15 years ago and when it was over, how shocked I was at all the clues I missed. Yes, another case of going bean blind. I was looking at him every day, but I didn’t see how unhappy that man was, how he was investing in other activities, seeing other people, spending time in other places. I was so busy with my own thing that I missed the changes in his thing. Until it was too late. I don’t want to do that again. But how do I make sure I don’t? How do I keep a fresh perspective on a very repetitive situation? This is my conundrum as I age into a long-term relationship. I don’t want to wake up one day in a rut that’s too deep to climb out of.
I want to see my partner with fresh eyes, even when it’s been a thousand days just like yesterday. So, mentally I’m framing repetition as stability, continuity, reliability, structure. I’m reminding myself that I need quiet time every day to write, and I get it because my cohabitant goes off to work five or six days a week, and he likes it. My domesticity makes it possible, gives us a rhythm, orients our time toward home. He doesn’t resent leaving me with freedom every day while he is off serving others because I make his breakfast, I pack his lunch, and dinner will be ready when he gets home. Our perspectives on how to live are simpatico. But we’ve been doing the same thing day after day for a few years now. So, I’m reminding myself that even though my life feels repetitious, if I take a fresh look every day, there will always be something worth noting that I’ve missed. It’s easy to go bean blind among the beans. It’s when I look outside the garden that I see how much I really have.