Inside the Mind of an Overthinker
December 1, 2021
Alexandra Wade

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to just do or say something, without thinking about it afterward. Without playing it over and over in my head and reliving every awkward moment and considering what I could have done differently. I wish I could have an interaction with another person, and then walk away without asking myself what they’re thinking now, and if I made a good impression or just made a fool of myself.

If this was it, I guess it wouldn’t be too bad. Except that it’s not, because, before every occasion that I end up scrutinizing in my head, hours upon hours of thinking time are devoted. I try to think about every possible way that things can pan out. I tend to hype myself up before things even happen, and just the anticipation of an awkward situation or argument can make me feel as if I have already experienced it. Just once, I’d like to arrive at a work meeting or a social event, without having mapped out and thought through every uncomfortable scenario that might happen. It would be nice to just arrive, experience the moment that I’m in, and then leave it there when it’s over. Rather than laminating over the potential ramifications of the exact wording that I used.

Together with all this stressing and worrying comes planning. Over the years I have become great at time management and geekily pride myself in how organized I am. It allows me to channel the ‘obsessing’ into something productive. Weeks before hosting a party, I’ll have carefully planned out the food and drinks, grocery time slots, and any cooking times. As soon as I get a work deadline, I immediately will split up the work into bite-size portions and spread it out over as much time as I can. Yes, I do sometimes wish that I could just ‘let my hair down’ and ‘go with the flow’. I imagine it’s a far less worrisome and more stress-free way of living. But I have learned to embrace that this is who I am and utilize it to my benefit while trying not to let it drag me down too much. And is with anything in life, it’s all part of an upward learning curve.

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