A Sabbatical For My Sabbatical, Part 2
Brian sat in my office for about 10 minutes while I thought about what to say to him. You see, I had decided to fix Brian. And, so far, Brian was not an easy person to fix.
When Brian came into my office over two months ago, it seemed like he had a fairly simple problem. Everything in his life seemed to be going exactly right, yet he wasn’t feeling happy. This was perplexing, for sure, because whenever things are going right for me, I’m completely happy. For instance, I’ve been on a sabbatical, which is a fancy word meaning “taking a break from doing the divine work of making everyone’s life better”. I haven’t been taking on any clients (except for Brian), and I haven’t been as much in the public eye. Taking a sabbatical was right for me, and it’s kept me perfectly happy.
So, it didn’t make sense that Brian would be doing things that seemed like the right ones, but wouldn’t be feeling so great about it. Of course, this got me thinking, which is why I’d been sitting there for a good 10 minutes while Brian fidgeted on the couch. If doing the right things makes you happy, and Brian wasn’t happy, then–
“Brian,” I said, “I think I know what the issue is.”
“Yes?” he asked.
“Brian, have you ever seen Unbreakable, with Bruce Willis?”
Brian frowned. “No, I don’t think I have.”
“Well, let me break it down for you. Bruce Willis is like Superman or someone like that, and has the ability to see ghosts and read peoples minds by touching them, sort of like Captain Picard on X-Men, and anyway, the thing is, he doesn’t really know he has superpowers. He just thinks he’s some average cop who just happens to always be at the wrong place at the wrong time. But because he’s always subconsciously denied his superpowers, it makes his life miserable. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with his life, it’s just not the life that he’s supposed to have. It’s not a life that really reflects who he is, which is a guy who can always defeat the terrorists not just with his superpowers but with his clever witticisms, which always makes those terrorists do the wrong thing. Am I making sense to you, Brian?”
“Um…” Brian seemed a little lost, and I could tell that I’d really given him something to think about. I was glad that Unbreakable had popped into my head. It’s a character I’ve always identified with for some reason. I don’t know if it’s because of Bruce Willis’s good looks or his quiet charm, but slap a mustache on that guy and it could be a movie about my life, if you substitute super-strength with the super-ability-to-fix-people and you substitute a weakness for water with no weaknesses whatsoever.
“Anyway, Brian,” I said, “the point is we need to find what the life is that you’ve denied yourself. Something that you’ve retreated from, or ‘taken a sabbatical’ from, if you prefer to call it that. While there’s nothing wrong with the life you have, it’s not necessarily your life, the life that’s going to make you 100% Brian, up until you find out Samuel L. Jackson is a crazy mass murderer.” (SPOILER ALERT: Don’t read the previous sentence if you haven’t seen Unbreakable and don’t want it ruined.)
“So, what is that life, Dr. Matt?” asked Brian.
“Well, let’s find out,” I said. “There’s no reason to rush things, Brian. After all, we’ve got all the time in the world, and if we fix you too soon it impacts my residual income.” I stood up. “You think about it in the meantime, and the next time we meet, we’re going to change your life forever.”
I let Brian go and re-scheduled our next session. Then I went to watch some Bruce Willis movies, because it’s something you can do as much as you want on your sabbatical. I tell you, this is the life.
Just My Thoughts,