I had a great trip to Alaska this past September with my dad. The goal of this trip was to grow closer, which I believe we did, as well as relish in the beauty of America’s largest state. On the last day of our trip we were sitting in a quaint local coffee shop enjoying breakfast and the black elixir of life, while savoring the final morning in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.
My dad enjoyed a large bowl of oatmeal, comparable to the size of the state, while I enjoyed a locally baked gluten free/vegan muffin. It was a weekday, and people were in the shop working busily on their laptops, or quickly coming in for a morning pick me up before heading into the office. There is a warmth of peace that washes over my soul when I am able to sit and savor my morning without rushing off somewhere.
Rushing isn’t really my style anyway, but that’s not the point of this story. As we exchanged some of our favorite highlights of the trip, we discussed a few more “serious” recaps as well. Things like “what do I want to do with my life” and “it’s OK not to know, but you have to do something.” You know, the typical stuff parents discuss with their children. While I thought by 29 I would “know what I want to do” the answer is that I still don’t. The difference now is that this no longer worry’s me.
I no longer spend days ruminating in the self preconceived notion that there’s something wrong with me because I can’t decide on one “thing” I want to do with my life, or my time.
Aside from the decadent banana chocolate chip muffin I savored that beautiful morning in Alaska, there is another take away from the coffee date with my dad, one that we joke about to this day. When wrapping up the conversation, he looked at me square in the eyes and told me with as much love as possible that I have a commitment problem. While some might have been taken aback by a possibly brash comment, I laughed because this wasn’t news to me. I DO have a commitment problem, in many areas of my life.
The concept of commitment makes me feel stuck, and my human instinct is to deflect these feelings by avoiding “seemingly” permanent decisions.
The truth is nothing is permanent, but my mind struggles to keep focus because there are SO many options available. What a beautiful world it is. When diving deeper into the why (something I do a lot) behind my lack of desire to commit to things in my life, I realized it’s not that I’m necessarily a commitment-phobe, but rather I’m an incessant over-thinker.
I have the ability to overthink to the point of distress if I’m not careful, which is why it is so difficult for me to make decisions.
If you take me to a bakery and tell me to choose one item, I will stand there for far longer than a non over-thinker because I cannot choose just one. If you give me five minutes of internet connection to post a photo on Instagram, I can’t do it because it takes me at least 20 minutes to think of what I want to write, and how I want to edit the photo. If you say something that hurt my feelings I will over analyze what you’ve said long after the comment was made.
If you give me a lot of information at once, I’m likely to feel slightly overwhelmed because I need more time to process and understand, and if I don’t fully understand something I get uncomfortable. If you tell me “you have an autoimmune disease” I will obsessively try to find out why, and how to “fix” it because my mind struggles to shut itself off when things go awry. If I have to have a serious conversation with someone I replay the words in my head over. and over. and over again. Tell me to pick a college major and it will take me ten years, and five changes before I graduate with something totally unrelated to the first four ideas.
While a lot of these tendencies of mine are a burden in some ways, there are plenty of positives to being an over-thinker. My preparation for most activities likely considers multiple outcomes, and I plan for them all. My relationships are strong because I’m extremely self aware and have the ability to calmly approach situations. My attention to detail is so strong I sometimes drive myself mad when things aren’t done to my standards. Likely my favorite of them all is my creativity, I can’t paint a sunset to save my skin, but I can write a damn good blog post.
All of this is to say that those of you out there who struggle to make commitments, I understand you. Those of you out there who do not struggle with over-thinking, be mindful of those of us that do. Making decisions is one of the biggest hurdles I leap over, and I’m well aware that this is something I will constantly be working on. While I don’t think it’s smart to just roll over and never commit to things in life, I am more patient with myself when big decisions need to be made.
As for “what do I want to do with my life” I think I’ve realized I want to do many things. I want to travel, I want to learn how to farm, I want to live in multiple states, I want to find a job that allows me to be flexible, I want to become a millionaire, I want to spend more time with my family, and I want to pick up skills from each “job” I work that will help catalyze me into the next chapter of life. Running away from discomfort is not the answer, but I’ve realized sometimes it’s OK not to commit. As long as it satisfy my lifestyle then everything is groovy.
On that note, I’m off to spend far too many hours mulling over which new hiking boots to buy. Praise Jesus for REI’s return policy. Helping over-thinkers like me since 1938.
Q: Do you ever struggle with over-thinking?
40 thoughts on “Thoughts of an Over-Thinker”
Nice blog today.Zack doing okLove ya
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GOOD! Love you.
I get the same feeling of being overwhelmed when sons says “You should travel!” Too many choices! It helps when I have a reason: work, visit my kids, etc.
So don’t beat yourself up too much.
Oh, and you do write a damned fine blog.
Thank you friend, I’m on an intense self discovery path the last couple years! 🙂
When I went to college I thought I was going to re-invent myself. And be done. Then I re-invented myself again. And again. And again. I’m a moving target!
As we all should be!
That was very well written Britt. And, I must say, you come by it honestly as it has taken your dad months to buy a pair of shoes on more than one occasion. You are on the right path for you and any path that brings contentment is bliss. Love you!
HAHA!! This is true, I see where I get it from. Thank you for your comment. LOVE YOU!
I overthink constantly. Gemini trait. Love the pic of the kitty, and you know a cat crate is a cat trap if you let them do it on their own time,right? 😉 Like a box in the middle of the floor.
I just started using my Scarpa boots again for hiking. I bought them when I was in Switzerland because the ones I had brought with me were not grippy enough. They cost a fortune there but I only used it for a couple trips. Then they sat in my closet until recently. Now they are my favorites! I was using Merrell before this but the Scarpa brand is really nice. I know they are overkill but I really need the ankle support. I don’t think they make my model anymore, this was, afterall, back in 2008. I’ll check my model when I get home. But they are grippy, comfortable, etc. I have the more boot type, backpacking/hiking boots. They do make Fast and Light types. Merrell is definitely cheaper. I have a pair of Salomon Techamphibians that I really like but they give me blisters when I walk and it is wet and the sand gets in and I hate that, it hurts. I think the sand is what is making me raw. Even if you are rafting in fresh or kayaking in salt water, as soon as you hit a sandy bank, your feet are doomed. You hike a lot more than I do, you actually enjoy it 😉
I’m a Merrell girl! I actually tried ankle shoes for the first time today, and I can’t do it!! They were AWFUL. So, back they go and I’ll get the same model without the ankle support. I like the flexibility of low top hikers! You have quite the experience with the shoes though, thanks for sharing!
I’m probably twice as old as you. You can buy a lot of shoes in that time 😉 I don’t do well with low hikers anymore. After my break I did not and still do not do exercises to a rebuild support structure. I suck 🙂
It is my belief that everyone over-thinks SOMETHING. It might just not occur to each of us that other people could think so much about one thing or on situation. For example, how many women overanalyze what men say to them and what their love interest may have meant in his “Ok.”? How many men analyze the stats of their favorite sports teams or how to best build something (stereotype I know lol)
I over-analyze money, running or using my time efficiently. Whereas someone else overanalyzes their lunch decision, clothing choice or what movie to see. I don’t think you are too much different than anyone else in this regard. Over-analyzing is what our brains are meant to do 🙂
Excellent points!! I definitely drive myself mad sometimes with it though, and it makes me physically sick. I agree, and I suppose it just depends on what matters most to some people. Although, I don’t care THAT much about some of the things I have to decide on and it still takes me far too long. HA.
You really do write a GOOD blog post! Every. Single. Time.
I am an over thinker to the core, so this was thought provoking for me (in the best way). 🙂
Thank you friend!
“but I can write a damn good blog post.” You absolutely do!
And realize that sometimes it’s not a failure to commit, but a tendency to over-commit that slows us down (looks up somewhere into her own hairline “ahem!”).
Seems like people more often have a number of jobs/careers during their lifetime, so maybe commitment is not a forever thing, but a good enough for right now thing. It’s great to leave ourselves openings, so we don’t feel trapped.
(Sorry, I’m getting parental here. I’ll stop now) 😉
Thanks Liz, I love the parental tone here. Even though it didn’t feel like that to me! I agree with you whole heartedly.
I totally overanalyze! Every. Last. Thing. And I love my Merrell boots, and my Keen hiking shoes. Good luck picking.
Merrell has always had my heart!
I love their gear!
Me too, and the shoes work great! I was happy with the purchase.
you do write amazingly well…so proud of you….
Thanks mom. ❤️
kathy @ more coffee less talky
hmm i guess i’m the odd one out who doesnt over think/over anlayze things…i just take it for what it is, change what i can and then leave the rest up to … fate? higher powers? also, a lot of things IDGAF…the perks of being an old hag.
I love it. There are certainly a handful of things IDGAF about, but some I most definitely DWELLLL ON SO HARD.
Yep. In lieu of trying not to overthink my response and all the things I could say…. I’ll just say, yes. I’m with you. Its a blessing and a curse, but I think if we over think things, at lease we see all their colors. Rather than just their grey tones.
This is true!! I don’t think it’s a bad thing, just slows us down at times. 😝
I overthink stuff ALL the time. It used to be worse for me, but now I can at least try to stop myself from not overthinking things too much haha
I used to be wayyy worse too, I guess were growing!? 😝
Oh my gosh, you are soooo not alone. So many of us struggle with this. I think it is a sign of an educated person, actually. I mean, there are many dimwits in the world who just make a decision and move on, not thinking of the consequences and ramifications. You don’t want to be one of those people do you?? 😉 -Kat
HA! I love your justification for this. Thanks Kat. ❤️
Nicole @ Foodie Loves Fitness
Your list of what you want to do with your life sounds pretty damn good to me! To be honest, I am not really an over-thinker…I tend to think about something, weigh it out, and then just make a decision and go with it. Case in point: My hubby and I bought our house after seeing it one time for maybe 20 minutes. We talked about it, analyzed out situation, and just said, “Alright let’s do it!” I’ll let you know if it was a good investment when we go to sell it haha.
My mom is totally an over-thinker when it comes to analyzing situations and sometimes I have to remind myself to be patient with her when she wants to kind of hash out something for the 5th time 😉 I think the thing to remember is that things seem to work out when you follow your gut, so if you’re struggling with making a decision, just go with what feels right. Easier said than done I know!
Definitely a good point out to listen to our gut! I’m getting better about that, but it doesn’t always come naturally for me! 😝
From one over thinker who lays awake at night going over everything to another it sounds to me you have your priorities about right. And who doesn’t stand in a bakery forever……way too many choices!!
Thanks girl, us over thinkers gotta stick together!
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I love you and your overthinking ways. That is all.
And I love YOU.
I am much older than you (49) but can relate so well. I enjoyed your post. : )
Thank you, and thank you for reading!