When I get home from work each day, I plop down my bags and settle in. My significant other does the same thing not long before me. We both make dinner, put on some telly, and talk. Not about anything in particular, but the conversation always starts the same way:
“How was your day?”
We both pour our lives into an observation tank. We talk about the kind of projects we’re working on, the people we work with, the things we thought and felt throughout the day, and the interactions we had.
The thing is, we don’t do this for one another. At least, I don’t do it for her – I doubt she’s really at all interested in what I had for lunch or how I felt after a meeting. I do it for me.
It’s the closest I’ve gotten to therapy, really. It’s perfectly healthy (and should be encouraged) to think about what happens during your day, because otherwise, how would we all cope? There is so much happening in our lives – so many interactions and thoughts and feelings – that if we didn’t stop to think about them every now and then, we’d explode. Or have some kind of meltdown. Or just… stop.
It’s the same with any other kind of problem solving. I’m sure you’ve been there – you call over a friend or coworker for help with a problem, and proceed to explain what’s wrong. In doing so, and in saying the words out loud and hearing them back yourself, something clicks in your brain, and the cogs and dusty wheels start turning, and you’ve gone and solved it yourself.
Talking about your day has the same effect. You find yourself narrating your story and uncovering things you previously hadn’t even considered. It’s like taking a mental double-take. Backtracking the trail to find the bounty and traps hidden amongst the trees.
The danger, of course, of investigating your day is uncovering feelings which ought not to have been – overthinking minor interactions and overanalyzing every word you’d said and heard. But that’s the beauty of talking to someone else – they can keep you anchored. A reference point to how the conversation began. A perfectly sane person who you can open up to, and then look upon to determine how crazy you sound. Be it a therapist, a partner, a friend, or a pet.
The bottom line is, we should talk more. Not about anything in particular, but just more. About our thoughts and experiences, and the things that keep us up at night. Money. Mental health. Anxiety. Lunch. Never mind boring people; it’s not for them. It’s for you. Talk about your boring day, because you probably need to. This, fine reader, is what has been keeping me occupied.
How was your day?