I like to think of myself as a very open person. I love learning about new ideas and perspectives and making the most of my environment. But in the face of many new things or experiences, I start to overthink. Despite being an advocate for change, when I get myself into a routine and have a plan envisioned in my head, it’s hard for me to steer off that path.
A nice way to put it is that I’m just not spontaneous. I like plans. I like knowing what I’m doing now and throughout the day. And my go-to response to anything that doesn’t fall into the day’s designated schedule? An excuse.
Over the years, I’ve become quite good at making excuses, which I really see a downfall in myself. No matter how much I tote the importance of stepping outside of your comfort zone, I’m very much a hypocrite. Whether it’s been new social situations where I knew it’d be crowded or loud, or places I knew I’d feel uncomfortable because food and eating would be involved, I shied away. I let fear and anxiety take over.
There have definitely been exceptions where I truly felt the urge to just go out and never want the night to end. To just get in a car, drive for hours and not care where the destination ended up being. I feel like that’s a normal desire, more common for some than others.
I both admire and am dumbfounded by spontaneous people. How they can volunteer themselves to an unfamiliar task without hesitation. How they can, at a moment’s notice, just go out and see where the night takes them. How they can meet someone new and immediately take them in their social life.
I often see my methodical thoughtfulness as a benefit. It’s my strength to not just blurt out the first thought that comes out of my head, but dwell on it enough to take in every detail and observation. In a fast-paced world, this quality doesn’t always end up feeling appreciated, but I use it to try and provide another perspective for those quick to decide.
This quality also leads me to overthink too often. Rather than just listening to immediately draws me in, I hesitate. I’m cautious, but maybe too cautious. I think of all of the possible repercussions before even saying yes or no. I over-complicate every decision to the point that I would just rather have someone else decide for me or at least narrow down my options.
No matter how much I talk about mental health, I even use my own struggles as an excuse. Kind of feeling depressed or anxious? There goes my day. It’s far too easy to dwell upon how restless or hopeless we feel to the point that we’re just asking for pity, or we put ourselves into a victim role, that we are slaves to our imbalanced neurotransmitters.
Just explaining my tendencies feels like a giant excuse. I know how I am, what I gravitate toward in everyday life, what I find as easy and comfortable, and I expect it for myself. I expect it so much, I forget the reason why I’d avoid certain situations in the first place. I have improved upon my “woe is me” mentality, but I still find myself sometimes just thinking and worrying and dwelling relentlessly. Maybe I am sometimes a helpless victim, but it’s my decision to empower myself and rise against it.
Admittedly, I enjoy when things like social events are cancelled just so I can spend more time reading or spending too much time online, but I can enjoy it too much. When you use excuses too often, as the automatic response to anything outside of the norm, they easily become missed opportunities. What seems like more time devoted to “self care” can turn detrimental to actually taking care of yourself.
Sometimes, self care doesn’t look like a face mask or evening reading a good book. Sometimes it looks like uncomfortable situations and being spontaneous. It’s not letting depression or anxiety get in the way of you having a great day, and putting yourself out there even when mood might usually vote against it. We cannot make the same choices for ourselves and expect the consequences to change. We cannot wish hard enough for something different in our lives if we don’t decide to act in a different way. This doesn’t mean changing ourselves into new people; it means that we are open to life’s twists and turns and not always let fear dictate each day.
I hope this year to feel empowered by a desire for something new. To not always read too much into every little detail. To take the unexpected path. To just live, no excuses.