This just in: I am a notorious over thinker. I’m actually thinking about overthinking thinking. I’m overthinking this post. It’s like think-ception up in here.
What if we had never met? What if we weren’t friends? What if I went left instead of right, up instead of down, and said yes instead of no? How would my life be different if…
But that’s the thing. The ‘what if’ doesn’t matter, because of what is. It doesn’t matter what could have happened because it didn’t. As much as I wish I were Hermione Granger, my time turner doesn’t work and instead of thinking about how life would be different if it did, I should think about what life is, and what life can be. “Well, duh” you say to me as you shake your head incredulously…but it’s not that simple. This is a lesson that I hear but don’t seem to listen to because—spoiler alert—I overthink it.
It’s a lethal characteristic, it imprisons you inside your head and the only person who has the key to freedom is you. Even when you plead for freedom and claw for escape, the prison guard of your mind doesn’t respond, because she doesn’t know how to—she is overthinking it. I could set myself free and it would be good because…but it might go terribly and ruin everything…I’ll just keep the gate locked and that will be best…but, actually, that might be bad because…but…no…wait…your prison guard self is stuck. No matter how many color-coded pro and con lists she makes, the answer still isn’t clear.
The answer will never be clear as long as ifs are involved. The only way to really know is to end this cold and painful staring match between the guard and the prisoner—between yourself and your mind—to twist the key and take a deep, fresh breath of the is’s. Rejoice in those that fall under pro and dust off the ones that label themselves con. Stop overthinking it—do it already.