I was pushing hard to finish a project at work tonight. I doubted that I could put it all the way to bed before I left, but if possible, I wanted to face just housekeeping (cleaning up unused files, that kind of thing) when I went in tomorrow morning.
Well, it didn’t work out that way. Best laid plans, and all that. About 20 minutes before I was planning to leave, my project threw me a curve. I wasn’t happy about it, but it didn’t upset me to nearly the degree it would have ten years ago. Tonight, I recognized it as something that I didn’t know how to solve immediately, but for which a solution would emerge.
And indeed, I’ve got it now, barely an hour later. I know exactly what I’m going to do with it when I go in tomorrow. The best part is that I didn’t have to do anything but see it as that kind of problem—one that my subconscious would nibble at until I got it, rather than one that would respond to primary mental horsepower.
No one taught me to do that, and I didn’t explicitly teach myself to do that. I don’t know how I could if I wanted to, really. It’s just something that has come with age and experience. It’s having a taste of a problem, realizing that it’s that certain flavor, and walking away from it. It’s one of the things that keeps me from saying I’d like to go back in time and relive childhood or young adulthood when those questions pop up on pass-arounds.
Apart from the obvious things, like watching my boys grow, it’s also the kind of thing that makes me think the best years really are ahead.