This is from 2008.  I was moving back from Anchorage, Alaska and dealing with friends and family asking ‘why’ I was coming back, or why I went to Alaska in the first place.  This is what I learned: I am moving back to Las Vegas, Nevada, from Anchorage, Alaska.  In speaking with my friends and associates, there is always the question of what happened?  After a lot of thought, I decided justification is not needed: I am returning to Las Vegas and that is all there is to it.  My mind demanded I come up with all scenarios to defend my position, my decision.  I have lost much sleep wondering how I would answer each person, mostly friends, and at the end of the brain firestorm, it comes down to, I am just moving back.  


Justification is the rationalization process in the mind, spinning and weaving reasons for an event, action, or behavior.  This process is a defense mechanism in which unacceptable behaviors or feelings are explained in a rational or logical manner.  In going through this process of justifying ones actions, an event, or behavior, one avoids the true explanation of the behavior or reaction in question, thus letting the mind rest feeling satisfied. 

Calgary Stampede, Alberta. Unidentified Cowboy...
Calgary Stampede, Alberta. Unidentified Cowboys Riding Horses / Stampede de Calgary, Alberta. Course à cheval (Photo credit: BiblioArchives / LibraryArchives)


Think of this process as falling off a horse.  You know how to ride, pretty good in fact, but if you ride for very long you will always fall off, every cowboy/girl will tell you this.  It is no fun and hurts like hell to fall off a horse.  Now say when you fall off it is into a rose bush, adding more afflictions to the fall.  You get up, immediately assess the situation to determine why you fell, and let’s be honest, to see if anyone else saw this demonstration of earth’s gravity and the horse’s instinct to dismount anything on his back.  Okay, no snake, no scary things, just a rose bush which the horse didn’t like.  Do you turn around and yell at the horse?  Many do, many blame the horse, shouting all sorts of various obscenities his way.  Well, look at there, the saddle is loose because the horse was sucking in while you saddled him.  Oops.  Now you can blame the horse for sucking in air instead of standing there like a good little horsey totally cooperative in this adventure.  Or, you can blame yourself for not double-checking the straps.  Now instead of calling yourself names at the top of your lungs for everyone to see and hear, you quickly run through your head if there was some distraction while you were saddling the horse, therefore making you forget to check it again.  In the end, you fell into a freaking rose bush, your have thorns all over your exposed skin, and a sore butt from falling.  Take your horse, your wounded ego, and yourself home, fix up your sores, and get a good night’s sleep, for the both of you.  Tomorrow, saddle the horse again, but pay particular attention to double-checking the straps.  No justification of why you fell is going to make the thorns, bruises, or event go away: it happened.  The people who saw it have already made up their minds as to what you looked like and have reacted.  Get up, dust off your pants, and smile at the horse as you know he is laughing at you.


I could offer many reasons, justifications, for returning to Las Vegas: relationship didn’t work, too cold, health getting worse, missing my cats, missing my stuff in storage, etc.  The bottom line is: It just doesn’t feel right here.  How can I justify this in actual fact?  It is a gut reaction to being uneasy with increasing alacrity daily. 


Throughout my life, I have always felt I had to come up with a good reason, justification, for the way I acted, reacted, or for my circumstances, which is basically action or the lack thereof upon me.  I am tired and there are no justifications left, and life is what it is.  When I was fired from a law firm, I ran my brain until it was depleted of how I would justify to my firing, thus making the law firm the bad guy.  Well they were in actuality, but the point is, there was no justification needed.  The simple fact of the matter is I am not there, can’t go back and change anything, move on.

I felt that each time I decided not to see a guy I had to justify my reasons, to him, and to others.  In the end, it was just we didn’t see the world the same way, and again, I was not comfortable in the relationship.  No big long story, no drama, just didn’t want to be with the guy.  I broke up, move on.


The mind desperately struggles for justification for events that cause us stress or negative emotion.  When we experience something positive, feel joy, our brains don’t stay up late at night trying to find justification for the good vibes, in fact, it sleeps better than ever before.  In being a human, a mere mortal, not a god, failure, unhappiness, and bad things are going to happen.  Why is it impossible to just fall asleep singing, “Que seŕa seŕa?”  The simple fact of the matter of knowing bad things are going to happen, we are going to face difficulties in life, and there is no growth without challenge, does not give us any solace.  We get migraines, ulcers, drink too much, and our behavior is altered drastically in trying to figure out what went wrong, how to tell others what went wrong, and how to move past what went wrong.  There is no doubt we should learn from past mistakes, but to make them so important we have to justify these mistakes or events to ourselves and others may be putting a band aid on the wound, not antiseptic. 

Instead of wrapping our minds around the reasons, justifications, of our unhappiness, just accepting they happened, and taking the obvious, the right there in front of you, reason, and get back in the saddle.  Take time to treat the wound, find comfort for the saddle sores, but be quiet (sleep), don’t over think the fall into the rose bushes.  Pick out the thorns (obvious reasons), put balm on the sores (back slowly away from the incident), then get right back up on the saddle.  Sometimes it might even be good to get back in the saddle with a little soreness, this enables us to remember we fell off this horse before, let’s do something different this time. 



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