How our mind works (Day #25)

Alex Barrera
5 min readDec 25, 2016

First of all, I hope everyone had a beautiful Christmas night, I sure did.

Image credit: Kat Sommers / Notebook (Flickr)

8:30 am.

I wake up to the sound of one of the twins screaming. What the hell? It’s the day after Christmas! He should be sleeping. Sleeping like a baby. Isn’t that what they say?

I rise, walk to the twin’s room and look at him. I try to negotiate. Go back to sleep, please! It takes two round trips and a tour of the lifeless living room to convince him to go back to sleep. Thank god he’s the logical one.

9:00 am.

I get back to bed. My mind wonders. I start thinking of the future. Different scenarios, different outcomes. I should be sleeping but I can’t. I fall in and out of sleep.

9:45 am.

Useless, I’ll just wake up, no point on rolling around bed still thinking of unrealistic things.

It gets me thinking. I should be focusing on the present. Why is it so hard? As many Zen teachings say, the future doesn’t exist, the past is already gone. The only real thing is the present.

And they’re right, but god it’s hard to do it. One part of my wants to daydream. Wants to run through all these scenarios. What if I did this? What if I did that? What if…

I’m insane; I start laughing to myself. Deep down I know this is the reason why I suffer. I create these stories in my head, and then, when reality doesn’t match my images, I get frustrated.

I need to stop doing it. Live in the present, live in the present; I keep repeating myself. So hard to do.

I find it fascinating how our mind works. If you don’t make the mental effort, your mind just wonders and wonders. The more it wanders, the worse it will get.

Or is it? I look back to my rational expectations. Some are useful. I run different scenarios that provide a way for me to predict individual outcomes. I tell myself that there is always a degree of them that I won’t be able to predict no matter what.

Here I go again, exploring the unpredictable, trying to control what can’t be controlled. My thought is trying to build situations for those hidden scenarios. This is precisely what’s not healthy.

But it’s fun I realize. It creates plausible scenarios I enjoy. When my mind comes back to reality, I retain that lingering feeling of happiness. Yet I know it’s so unrealistic. At least I know it’s not healthy and not real. That’s better than believing it, right?

While my rational me knows it’s good that I don’t believe or trust my expectations, my irrational me, gets pissed. He wants to believe. There is still this small voice that tells me that if I do it hard enough, it will become real. It might, who knows, but what if it doesn’t? Pain. Crushing pain.

10:15 am

More cries. This time it’s both of them. My train of thought goes down the drain. Live in the present. Fuck.

I switch the phone on. I don’t want to switch it on. I used to ignore my phone. I hate myself for wanting to check it now. Live in the present.

Still, I check it. Re-read messages. Smile.

10:30 am

Christmas play is in full swing. I love seeing the boys playing with their Christmas gifts. Last year they were too little to enjoy. Now they’re big, they laugh and play. I love them so much.

10:45 am

Breakfast for all. Trying to eat a toast while getting harassed by the twins. Not easy, but still makes me laugh. They’re really enjoying their gifts. Damn train, though. It’s noisy.

11:30 am

Time to get the boys ready. PJ’s off, bath ready and fun with the water. I enjoyed swimming when I was younger, but these two are in love with the water. I’ve never seen anything like this before. Pour water on them, and they become happy puppies.

12:00 pm

I take a break. Time to write my daily post. What should I write about today? Yesterday’s post was pretty lame, but hey, it was Christmas after all. Not much time to think. So today I need to write about something different.

I should write about expectations and what happens when they don’t match. It fits. Been thinking of it all morning. Live in the present. Oh lord shut the f**k up brain!

Ok, here we go. Empty page. How do I start? You know what? I’ll be original; I’ll let my ego do the writing. Maybe it can produce something smarter. No, I’ll probably babble, but at least it will be original.

12:35 pm

How about I add some conclusions to my morning ramblings? Yes, that would be advisable. So, I think we all daydream. Depending on your emotional state, stress, etc. you’ll probably do it more or less. I’m not focused at all, hence my great mental chaos.

The truth is, I don’t want to fix it. Sometimes I just enjoy chaos. It makes me feel alive. Yes, I’ll confess it, even younger, foolish. I think we are allowed some foolishness from time to time right?

Now, I’m also aware that it’s not real and that I should stop soon. So, yes, go and daydream, but then drop it. It’s not real, it’s just you, me, projecting into the future. No one knows what the future will hold. If the future doesn’t match what you dreamt, I assure you an excellent ration of pain and suffering. I hate when that happens. I don’t like suffering, but I keep prioritizing my beautiful stories. There goes the notion of delayed gratification out of the window.

Try to focus on the present. What are you doing right now? What will I do next? No! That’s the future. See? It’s damn hard, but we still need to try.

12:40 pm

Ok, I’m done. I hope this post makes any sense at all and your mind can see itself reflected in this process. Welcome to my thought-show. Have a great day all. Now time for a shower. Should I check my phone? I can hear my friends saying, NO! Don’t! You’re smarter!. Am I?

12:50 pm

I hit post.

This post is part of my 30 Days Writing Challenge. If you want to check out the previous post, here you have an index.



Alex Barrera

Chief Editor at The Aleph Report (@thealeph_report), CEO at, Cofounder & associated editor @tech_eu, former editor @KernelMag.