on overthinking

11Sep09

something on your mind

Some people do it too much, some not enough. It can hurt between the ears & no one else can see it, however cataclysmic it is inside your own skull, although sometimes furrowed eyebrows or faraway eyes can give the game away.

There is no universal scale on which to measure it. One person’s anguish is another’s walk in the park, but where’s the yardstick, and which is which?  Anguish, walk in park, anguish, walk in park…

Both could look the same, depending on the mental preset.

E.g.

Say you’re agoraphobic and your life depends on a walk in the park. 

Say you’re walking in the park, any park, with not a care in the world, yet still you are beseiged by a vague sense of guilt at not feeling any anguish whatsoever… which in itself presents a kind of anguish, the more you dwell on it.

Tricks.

That wasn’t supposed to be a riddle, or maybe it was (work that out).

Today, during work, I made it into the CBD. I work in the CBD, but what I mean is that I left the office and went somewhere. It was a specific, outcome-driven outing – I don’t rove the cobbled footpaths of Lambton Quay just on a lunchtime whim any more, for the sheer hell of window shopping or a breath of fresh air. (Come to think of it, I don’t even remember the last time I did. What does this mean? Is there something wrong with me?)

It was quite nice. It was spitting, ever so slightly. There were roadworks. I got a sense of deja vu, remembering old things as I passed by unlikely landmarks. I only had four hours’ sleep last night, so things were a tiny bit fish-eyed. A little bit more evocative or – shall we say – heightened. (All things considered, I conducted myself okay today, even though I did take an empty wine glass with me halfway to the bus stop before realising.) 

The white earphone brigade and lunchtime walk-and-smokers were out in force. I always feel oddly privileged – or just downright voyeuristic – when I catch fellow footpath walkers in moments of private amusement or uncontainable happiness. Today it happened and my instantaneous mental RSS audio-feed kicked in, like an unbidden sound track. It was Crowded House’s Private Universe. I don’t know any of the words before or after in our private universe. No matter.

It made me think about how I am an overthinker. I come from a line of overthinkers. I am self aware (ha, that’s the problem). I understand the nature of the thing; I have put a lot of time into thinking about it. You can’t tell an overthinker chill out or don’t think so much. That’s a red rag that an underthinker or even just a run-of-the-mill thinker doesn’t or won’t ever get.

There are worse overthinkers than me. I am not chronic or anything.

But 9 times out of 10 I am related to the overthinkers I know who are worse off than me, though, which is a worrying state of affairs for the gene pool.

So, as I reapproached work on the final leg of my novelty stroll, waiting at the lights for the green man that is soon to be a woman, the best thing happened. There was a guy in full regalia playing the bagpipes outside a menswear store. (But that wasn’t the best thing, although it was noteworthy.)  A woman stood on the other side of the road from me, a hopskotch- measure away from him, with her fingers in her ears. I haven’t seen anything like it since primary school. It was positively inspiring. If only a couple of index fingers shoved in your ear canals could keep the outside world from creeping in – just think!

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