May 14, 2024

Critical thinking and critical tiredness

It may not surprise you to know that I have a liberal arts degree.  In theory I learned to think critically and compose convincing arguments with the data available.  I think it was Tara Moher's book "Playing Big" which made the point that sometimes people (especially women) use these skills to think critically about their own endeavours.  I can think critically about my own professional progress and come up with a good argument as to why I don't deserve a promotion or a raise.  I can think critically about a job and come up with compelling evidence as to why I'm not qualified for it.  My critical thinking is on point!

When I am very very tired I have a habit of using these critical thinking skills to convince myself that people don't like me, or are mad at me.  I go though a history of recent conversations and interactions with a specific person and put together a very compelling narrative as to why they must be secretly mad at me.  

Last night the babies woke up at 3 and 4 and 5 and the kids were up at 6.  I did go to bed at 9... but slightly less than 6 hours of sleep is massively less than ideal for me.  This morning I was composing a great mental narrative on why a good friend of mine is no longer my friend.  About an hour into this process (I had so much evidence, going back months, and including other people, texts... everything!) I realised this is a sign of me being very tired.  15 year friendships don't collapse in a day of analysis.

What a lame way to utilise my expensive college taught critical thinking skills.

The weird bit is even knowing this is an insane way to spend my time, I can't seem to get my brain to reroute to another direction of thought. A friend of mine in college used to get drunk and repeatedly ask everyone "are you mad at me"? to which we would say no.  And then 10 or 15 times later we were mad at her for asking so many times.

To add to my mental gymnastics and tiredness, it's raining again.  After 75 degrees and sun all weekend it was 60 degrees and raining yesterday.  We got so wet on the walk home from school pick up that we turned on the fire (gas fire) and drank hot chocolate.  I definitely enjoyed my summer this year, but I am sad that it was only two days long. [/British sarcasm]

6 comments:

  1. I never thought to attribute my own deeply critical critical thinking skills to my liberal arts education. Trade school it is, for my kid! (Just kidding. I loved college.) (Unless she wants to pursue a trade! Which would be excellent for so many reasons!) Anyway. This sucks, and it definitely is worse with little sleep, and I hope you can tell your brain to stuff it. Or maybe treat it like you did your college friend, and give yourself a big hug and say, "Let's get you a big glass of water and a Tylenol."

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    1. I'd be so thrilled if my kids want to pursue a trade. The job security! -rachel (but not the one who writes this blog)

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  2. Critical thinking skills are excellent but also prone to 'overthinking'. Sigh. I have first hand experience.

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  3. When I get into brain loops like that, I attribute them to anxiety...which is definitely exacerbated by lack of sleep. -rachel, who is still your friend even though she hasn't replied to your very nice email in many months I'm sorry I still love you

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    1. I was pretty sure you could relate! Also never worry about not writing back for a long time. Email is annoying because it is super quick. I like to pretend that when i send an email it goes onto a boat across the ocean and gets to you like 6 months later. In fact, if you reply right away I get worried about needing to write back! we need to bring back freight mail that took months.

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  4. "When I am very very tired I have a habit of using these critical thinking skills to convince myself that people don't like me, or are mad at me. I go though a history of recent conversations and interactions with a specific person and put together a very compelling narrative as to why they must be secretly mad at me."

    SAME,SAME, SAME!!!! Ah, thank you for putting it out here for us- I can so relate.

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