Stop me if you've heard this one before...
I guess that's impossible since by the time you read it, I'll have finished writing it. But I just noticed that I have 533 posts behind me and after a while you just can't remember whether you've said something before. By now, for instance, my wife can tell all my best stories as well as I can.
But walking the dog the other evening, I remembered one of the "rules to live by" that I came up with once:
Don't have conversations with people who aren't there.
Actually I can remember exactly when I came up with this. I was sitting in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant in the foothills of the Wastatch Mountains overlooking Salt Lake City where I once traveled frequently to assist in managing the opening of a new alcohol and drug hospital -- Highland Ridge Hospital. I think it is still around.
And I wasn't paying attention to the view. I was engaged in an intense, angry internal argument with my ex-wife over something or other. I can't remember now. But I had been at it for awhile. Having arguments with someone in your head is easy because you always win them. Since you are imagining both sides of the debate, you always make the other person say something to which you have already planned a scathing rebuttal.
But after awhile, I realized that it had become dark and I had wasted well over an hour or so. While I was pumping up my blood pressure, my ex-wife, three time zones away, was probably sleeping like a baby.
I was having an imaginary argument about something that might never come up. I don't know now whether it ever did, whatever it was.
But suddenly I thought to myself: "Don't have conversations with people who aren't there."
And my blood pressure dropped and I smiled.
And that little insight has served me well ever since...at least when I remember to practice it.