0330 – beware overthinking (make decisions quicker)

I am an overthinker. I do it probably because it’s familiar and easy, because it’s the hammer in my hands that makes everything around me look like nails. And I do recognize that overthinking doesn’t solve all problems, in fact it’s often the creator, perpetuator or amplifer of problems. Sometimes I kick up a dust and then wonder why I can’t see, and kick up more and more dust. The solution is to stop, pause, breathe, meditate, go for a run, read a random book, break out of the pattern.

Also– overthinking is a sort of busyness. It’s agonizing over a limited set of things, and the more time I spend in that set of things, the harder it becomes for me to look beyond the set, to spot what I’m missing, etc. I started this vomit I guess because I wanted to have something for me to go to the next time I get caught in this web of overthinking.

I was tweeting to myself recently, where the village idiot was asking the tree spirit, “why am I stuck?” And the tree spirit jokes, “you aren’t.” So much of stucked-ness is imagined, it’s clinging on to old patterns, old thoughts, old grudges, concerns, worries, so on. At any moment I can get up. I can walk out of the door. I can spend some money. I can go for a run. I can go to the gym. What I do there may disappoint me because I have all these unrealistic expectations and false ideas about who I am and what I can do. This applies even to work that I’m doing, because I tend to pretend that I can do more than I can actually do– until last minute panic kicks in, and I’m forced to throw all my standards and expectations out of the window just to finish something that’s hopefully satisfactory.

So I suppose the first thing I need to do is to discard all of my expectations about who I am, what my abilities are. I should throw “Gifted student” and “Quora Top Writer” and similar things out of the window– those things are just giving me an inflated sense of self-worth. Those are past victories, they were things that a different person did at a different time, and I’m a different person now. I have to confront each moment as it comes. I have to face each day as it comes. The challenge is to earn my keep on this planet each day, and to go to sleep each night feeling happy and fulfilled. I spend far too much time clinging onto past glory or perceptions of glory (often retconned substantially– how the mind is eager to rationalize things so that I can feel comfortable about things!).

Well, okay. So today I’m a person who’s sitting at home doing as much writing as he can. That’s it. Maybe to avoid overthinking I should let go of big picture concerns (beyond the most quick sketches– which are probably better than attempts to flesh things out in great detail… I might be wrong about that but let’s just leave it at that). I should instead just ask myself– what do I want to do in this moment? What do I want to do with these few hours? How do I want to spend my day? And after I’ve done my basic commitment to writing and meditating and maybe reading a little (it’s a little worrying that I haven’t figured this out into a fixed routine yet– I should work on that later), I should then think a little broader. What do I want to accomplish this week? This month? This year? I haven’t thought about those things in months. Every day is just a really cloudy battle for survival. And overthinking about little specifics that are perhaps urgent but unimportant provide me with a plausible excuse.

Overthinking is busyness of the mind. It excuses pretty much anything. But when I let go and breathe, allow the moment to float, I realize that it’s all up to me. I am the director of the theater that is my life. There will be things that happen beyond my control, sure, but I have far more control than I let myself on to. I could get up and dance around my house right now if I felt like it. So what are the things I feel like doing? I guess I’ll spend my next break between pomodoros meditating to see how I feel about that. I still have 18 minutes to finish this vomit and probably start on the next one. I think the thing that’s on my mind– that I have said is on my mind– are my habits and routines. So I’ll write those down in the next vomit. The idea has seemed a little silly to me, but then the idea that any idea is silly within the context of the word vomit project is even sillier. I’m worrying about some sort of judgement from some sort of invisible unknown, when really, c’mon Visa, this whole project is just for you. This whole thing is just for you. You can do whatever you like. You can do whatever you feel like you need to do. So do that, and fuck what anybody else thinks.

So to wrap up– why do I overthink? I do it to avoid making decisions. It’s rationalization. I do it to avoid the harder work of deciding something and then making that decision happen, executing. Executing is scary. Yes, even after all these years. It’ll probably always be scary. But isn’t it scarier that days, weeks, months, years go by without any sort of deep joy? Deep joy comes from knowing deep down in the subconscious that we are having fun, we have earned the right to have fun, we are not a burden to anybody else– we are a pleasure to have. We are reliable. We are useful. We are valued. That’s something relatively simple. It’s not rocket surgery. It’s just delivering on what we said we would. And if we said too much, well, we can still focus on the most important things first. So let’s do that. And not think so much.

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