Ever since I can remember, I’ve overthought things.
In every situation, I’d be glancing around, trying to make sure I get things right, worrying about what could go wrong, what I haven’t done, who I might have forgotten.
It’s a little exhausting.
And it’s also something I appear to be growing out of.
I never really tried to change, but the little girl who lay awake at night stressing, the teen who often missed events because she worried too much about not being wanted there, the young adult who self-criticised herself into a corner, seems to be fading into the box of memories of former selves.
And I’m glad.
I feel more confident, and much more in control.
I think what I’ve finally be able to do is what I try to encourage my students to do.
Divide stress and worry up into the constructive and destructive. Embrace the former, ignore (as best you can!) the latter.
The former is good. We all need that surge of adrenalin when we step on stage, take the test, make the presentation, prepare for the first date. A life devoid of stress would be milquetoast in the extreme and offer little in the way of challenge or thrill.
The latter is the kind of worry that keeps you awake at night in a very different way. Constructive stress keeps you awake thinking “Did I email my friend back/finish that story right/iron my black dress?”. If push comes to shove you get out of bed, check, fix if appropriate, and get on with things. Destructive stress has you tossing and turning, lost in a spiral of what-ifs and maybes.
I seem to be letting go of the latter type. I still try to be considerate and thoughtful, but without tying myself up in knots. Some people won’t like you. Sometimes you’ll fail. But, to quote Baz Luhrmann, “the journey is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.” So you may as well be good company.
So here’s to a little less overthinking, and a little more sleep.
Or of course, I could just be overthinking things 😉