Theory: a coherent group of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct, that can be used as principles of explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena: Einstein's theory of relativity.
The hunch: what happened to me last year — having my bell rung — was an epic event that cannot be replicated.
The only way to be sure the theory might be a theory (definition # 2) was to experiment. So I donned my mad scientist's hair and went to the lab.
Like the monomyth, this is unfamiliar territory for me. But I'm a trouper; I'm willing to try anything two or three times, just to see if it's a good fit (sometimes more extensive testing is required, but that's a whole other blog post).
I met people, hung out, got to know them. Some were old friends; others were newcomers to my life. I may be a misfit but I do know how to be affable and polite in mixed company. No one fled screaming from the building. I kept an open mind and my own counsel.
The lab is now dark. Conclusion: my theory (#1) has become a theory (#2). My gut was right. I thought that was the case.
That said, I'm cool with my life right now. No complaints. A change of scenery has helped dispel some lingering memories. It reminds me of the time we moved the magazine's offices from the sketchy north side to downtown Springfield. The new vibe sparked new inspirations. It showed in what we published.
The new vibe in my life is interesting. I have no idea where it's going to take me, and right now I really don't care. I'm glad I'm still alive and kicking it. I'm also glad to know I was right about my theory. There is satisfaction in certainty.