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Where Are You?

Where are you

I like answers. Or at least I like pondering the possibility that they exist. But usually, and always with considerable thought, I’m finally convinced that answers are rather hard to come by. Yet I still make the effort—in between thinking about what I’ll eat next.

As questions go, it turns out that a lot of us head to the internet to seek answers, so I thought I’d flip the tables today and try seeking the questions we ask instead. In my research, it was a surprise to learn that one question that ranks particularly high is: “Where are you?”

What is in that question? Are we looking for someone else online, or trying to figure out where we are now in relation to where we’d been yesterday (or plan to be tomorrow)? As I considered, it seemed the search could be much more profound than a geographic conclusion.

WHAT THE INTERNET HAS TO SAY ABOUT “WHERE YOU ARE”

A quick submission to Google and the first answers that surface relate to music. The biggest share goes to music producer Otnick, and their piece titled “Where are you.”

The second-highest return is by Frank Sinatra, who recorded a song by the same title in 1957. In this ballad, he is pining for a love that left him. He feels lost because he placed his future happiness in a love that has gone south.

The orchestra swells and Sinatra laments, “Where is the dream we started?” As lyrics go, there is a lot of deep philosophy to dig into here, and I’m not surprised given it’s coming from Frank.

Switching out “You” to “I” (so that the questions is “Where am I”), and it is ALL about location. The internet is quick with a straightforward link to maps. It’s such a relief! I’ve found an answer. But I still say there is far more to this where of “Where are you” than can be resolved with Google Maps.

ONE SCIENTIFIC THEORY

There is definite journal fodder in this question, so I posted it to the Life Journaling Group to see what journaling friends had to say. Right off, “where you are” is more elusive than a mere location.

On the surface it might be where you are physically, but also where you are in your thoughts, in your life, and in your feelings of the present. With these additional ways of looking at it, “where you are” becomes significant and maybe even pivotal.

Call it a rabbit hole, but I segued to more Google searches on realism and mindfulness by scientists and philosophers alike. There is more than enough information to dabble with there.

Cognitive psychologist Donald Hoffman, for example, theorizes that humans have evolved to experience a collective delusion—not an objective reality. Basically, we process what we see in a way that helps us survive with what he calls “pay-off strategies.”  We see the world pragmatically the way we need to see it to function.

The obscurity of “real” has always bugged me. If “real” is in the eye of the beholder, then can we trust anything? How can where we are ever be true? 

IMMEDIATE MOMENT WITH LONG-VIEW BENEFITS

My research becomes more than my thoughts can handle at this point, and makes me feel downright anxious.

How are you feeling right now? Where are you in this instant?

I’m at my keyboard typing, and feel my fingers strike the keys on my computer. It’s morning, and I hear the news in the other room where my husband is working. Des Moines just received the first snow of the winter season.

I glance out my window and see green tufts of grass and autumn-colored leaves pop from swaths of white on the ground. I’m sitting on a heating pad, which helps me feel toasty warm in a house that runs cool. I smell food cooking—maybe it’s the chili that David has prepped for the next day.

In this moment, I’m reminded of a quote I once saw on a pretty greeting card that read, “Wherever you go, you are there.” We may run from where we are, but we can’t ever leave ourselves behind.

We may run from where we are, but we can’t ever leave ourselves behind.

BE INTERESTED IN YOUR MOMENT

Okay, so, wherever you are, it still means you, yourself, will go along for the ride. That’s the kicker.

As a person who creates written work to reach a tribe of others, I do find it easy to get lost in feeling inadequate. Somebody else’s “where” looks far more promising than my current “real.”

Lately, I’ve been practicing shifting from fretting about feeling uninteresting to remind myself to be interested in the life I have, and to not quantify or compare it.  I can report that just making this mental shift has given me a lift, so I recommend it.

Maybe we are deluded, but feeling better means being more aware in your dream as it is unfolding, and that seems a worthwhile state of mind.

How about you. Can you marvel in where you are?

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