Originally published on Respectfully Connected
My son and I have not been in the chilled out space that we are usually in. We’ve lost the rhythm that is usually present in our family. But I’ve finally realised the problem:
Neither of us have a special interest at the moment.
This has never happened to us before. Each of us has been without a special interest, but never at the same time.
When he’s had a special interest and I haven’t, I have been able to listen to, and appreciate, his info dumping his collection of knowledge about that interest on me. When I’ve had a special interest and he hasn’t, I’ve been able to regulate my attention span when I’m with him so that I can engage him in conversations that aren’t related to my special interests.
Now, with neither of us having a special interest, it just feels as though we’re floating in endless space. We don’t know what to do with our time; either the time we spend together or the time we spend doing our own thing because we don’t have our own thing to do.
We’re getting on each other’s nerves. We’re talking across each other because neither of us is able to pay attention to what the other is saying. I look at him when he’s speaking, and I know he’s saying words, but I don’t know what those words mean. I see him giving me the same look. We can’t figure out what we want to do. It’s frustrating for both of us.
We have no anchor.
Our special interests – when they are shared (like MCU) or when they are different (like when he goes for a specific TV series and I go for learning everything there is to know about a historical figure) – help us stay focused when we need to. They give us a way to retreat into our own space when we need to, and they provide us with a way to engage with the world when we need to.
We need an anchor.
But special interests are elusive. You can’t seek them out. You just sort of happen upon them and journey down the rabbit hole like Alice in Wonderland. You can’t force that journey. It just has to happen.
So, my son and I are waiting for our individual or shared anchor to reveal itself, and until then we are floating in endless space.
This post has been translated into Russian. You can access the translation here.