A while ago, I heard a riddle on the radio I hadn’t heard since I was a young girl.
Three men go to a hotel and book a room together. The room costs $30, so they each pay $10. After they’ve gone upstairs the desk clerk realizes the room only cost $25. He gives the bellhop $5 and tells him to return the money to the men. The bellhop figures he can’t split $5 evenly, so he pockets $2 and gives them each $1 back. That means they each paid $9 for the room. Which means they paid, $27 total. But, if you add the bellhops $2, it means there’s only $29 — Where did the extra $1 go?
Ultimately, the answer is, it’s not a math question — it’s a case of misdirection. The riddle asks us to follow the money trail based on the monies returned, not the monies paid. It mixes money paid with money received and money returned — and takes our focus off of what’s really going on. There never was an extra $1. It’s just a case of misdirection.
When I was in relationship with the sociopath, I lived a riddle. I followed his misdirection. I focused on what he was saying ‘would happen’, not what was actually happening. He continually asked me to ignore the facts, and focus on his lies. And I did. Not because I’m stupid. I’m not. My attention was diverted into the lies, into believing his truth was what he was speaking, because what he was doing because he kept masking what he was really doing. And, whenever I thought about what he was actually doing, it didn’t add up. Because I couldn’t make sense of his misdirection, I focused on what he was telling me was true, not reality.
It is a common trait amongst those of devious intent. Like a husker shifting the cards rapidly before your eyes, you try to follow the action of his hands and never see the trick unfolding. Mislead into believing the truth is waiting for you under the card you think you’ve been following, you lose sight of what he’s really doing with his hands. You focus on the cards, not the player, and lose sight of what’s happening before your eyes.
Life is filled with riddles. Today, I recognize riddles as what they are, thought-provokers, interesting games — but not my life. I still like riddles, I just don’t get caught up in the need of having to figure them out so badly that I lose focus on who I am and where I’m at in my life today.
My life is not a riddle waiting to be discerned. Life is what I make it. There’s no mystery, no sleight of hand, no riddle to be figured out in order for me to live my best day yet. It’s up to me to make this my best day yet so that I can live the life of my dreams. No one else can tell me my dreams. No one else can make my dreams come true.
Since leaving the riddle of that relationship with the sociopath, I have figured out my truth. I know who I am, what I want in my life, and I take responsibility to live my life with integrity, grace and honesty. To stay out of someone else’s riddle, I must always stay true to my values, moral, principles — not the truth someone else tells me or wants me to believe is my reality.
My truth is, this is my one and only life. It’s up to me to live it, breathe it, experience it — no holds barred. It’s up to me to be the best me I can be so that I can fearlessly live the life of my dreams.
The question is: Are you living the life of your dreams, or are you following someone else’s misdirection in the hope they will lead you to the truth of who you are?