Overthinking

So, I have been procrastinating over a follow-up story. Since it was so well received, I have been scared and have a lot of dead drafts that will never be published.

Earlier this week I was talking to my friend Emily, and she said something profound to me: “Ahh yes over thinking would make writing an interesting challenge… But challenges can be fun?” I like challenges, despite what my reptile brain says.

I deal with serious procrastination in my own personal life. After some recent research I found that there are two main types, and I suffer from both. The main type is related to fear — if I start doing this, it won’t be good enough or I will mess it up / make a fool of myself / will start and never finish. That’s the lizard brain talking — I need to take that with a grain of salt. That’s easier said than done when you have spent your life avoiding or minimizing risk. It’s certainly easier to be quiet; have no opinion; go-with-the-flow; be a team player; stay out of the spotlight than to actually decide what you want and go for it. Many of us idolize the people that can do that — stand out and not appear to care what others say. I know how to do that at work, but don’t know how to do that in my personal life — I allow myself to put myself under the microscope and dig up all the evidence on why believing in myself is a fool’s errand. Anyway, this is my dominant form of procrastination.

Potentially more embarrassing is the second-type. I am an adult and I understand that actions have consequences (always have really) and the old “stitch in time…” adage. The second form is about taking the short-term gain over the longer-term gain. I will quite happily put off refueling my car right now, as it is out of my way, to risk having to get it when I am running late somewhere, because I don’t want to go out again tonight. I (horrifically) have a bunch of outstanding tasks that need attention that fit under this category.

So, how does an over-thinker get through this? My idea revolves around doing. I am trying to throw myself into situations where my instinct tells me not to. I try to just do something that I don’t want to do…but it’s hard! I seem to prefer the last-minute scrambling for winter gear for the kids and the late-night run to the grocery store than actually prioritizing and acting on the list of jobs I sometimes put together. Having no plan is easier — it’s easier to lie to yourself about forgetting or not having time when you don’t have it all mapped out.

I also have this dichotomy where having everything planned out for me and having a boring, predictable routine is GREAT!…but I don’t want to be anyone’s puppet. I want to be over-critical of that plan. I am so much smarter than whoever put that plan together — I see so much more of what is going on. Am I an anarchic conformist? Am I just crazy? Please no-one tell me I am NORMAL. Who really wants that? Not having anyone to blame but yourself for not learning to tame the crazy bio-mechanical computer on your shoulders.

Maybe next I should write about my increasingly philosophical thoughts on education…

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