When Not to Trust Your Gut
I was doing just fine with pandemic solitude, or so I believed. I’m happy as an introvert. I’ve worked at home for decades. From time to time, though, after a leisurely visit with a friend, I notice a burst of energy. My head is clearer. I perk up like the garden after rain.
On the trail walks that sustain my spirit, I can skip water for hours unaware of thirst. I start to flag from dehydration before I realize what’s wrong. Hunger reminds me if I forget to eat, but I’ve had to learn the hard way to carry bottled water.
Logical thought guides only a small proportion of our decisions, I suspect. Gut feelings give us knowledge without conscious processing. They often arise quickly, drawing on unrecognized sources in our past or present. Pattern recognition? Forgotten incidents? Subliminal sensory input? Intuition is mysterious but not magical. Like reasoning, it’s a helpful brain process without guarantees. When my gut says I’m fine without water or human interaction, I’d best check with reason and experience too.
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I'm a historian who writes novels and literary nonfiction. My home base is Madison, Wisconsin.