I’m sure everyone has seen an image of the famous statue “The Thinker,” a seated man, his head on his fist as he’s obviously pondering some very deep thoughts. I wonder what a statue of an over thinker would look like. I’m guessing someone in the fetal position with both hands pulling his hair out as he tries to decide whether he wants sausage or pepperoni on his pizza. Actually, if a sculptor ever wanted to try his hand at “The Over Thinker,” I’m available.
I have overthought just about everything for as long as I can remember. Multiple choice tests were a special form of torture and more often than not I ended up checking “All of the above” because usually each response could be the right one, depending on how you looked at it. It would have helped my over thinking tendency if I’d studied more and over thought less, but that option never occurred to me.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten better and can usually say “paper” with a fair degree of confidence when confronted with the troubling paper or plastic question at the supermarket. However, when we finally faced the fact that the paint on our house was starting to look pretty shabby I was faced with a decision I overthought for so long I not only drove my husband crazy, but also my two sons and possibly the dogs (the cats didn’t care since cats only care about food and a comfortable place to sleep. I think we all need to take a lesson from cats.). The decision? What color paint should we use?
This process began last fall, dragged on through winter and spring, and finally came to a head i August when I realized that unless I decided on something very quickly, we’d be painting during blizzards. Fortifying myself with a glass of wine, I settled into my recliner with the three finalists and went over their virtues and vices.
The contenders were Palm Beach, a funky green that took me back to the good old days of the 1970’s when the radio in my mom’s Gremlin continually blasted “Sister Golden Hair” and the internet wasn’t even a gleam in Al Gore’s eyes. I liked Palm Beach, but was I that daring? Our house’s current color is a blah shade of beige. Could I make the leap from blah to bold? I just didn’t know.
Next was Wild Mustang, a name that immediately conjured up the old west, bars with sawdust on the floor and whiskey drunk straight out of the bottle. I loved the name and the color was nice too, a deep taupe that would go well with the brown shingles on our roof. Wild Mustang, in spite of its slightly dangerous name, was a safe choice and safe is good, at least most of the time.
Finally there was Pottery Wheel, a color identical to what we currently had. Dull, dull, dull, but, and this was huge, we could most likely skip a lot of spots that didn’t really need painting and move on to the ones that did.
“I just don’t know,” I said approximately three hundred and forty-seven times that evening. “What do you like?” I asked Mark.
“I’m not deciding. That’s your business.” Mark has always left decorating decisions to me, something I appreciate (I know a woman whose husband went furniture shopping for their first house with his mother and left my friend at home to unpack the U-Haul boxes—the end result wasn’t pretty both décor and marriage-wise).
“I don’t think I want Wild Mustang, but I can’t decide between Palm Desert and Pottery Wheel. I don’t know whether to go with something new and different or something old and familiar.”
“Which one do you like better?”
“There’s your answer,” Mark said and returned to binge watching “Ancient Aliens.”
Was it really that simple? Did all I have to do was decide what I liked best and go with it? Was that the answer to so many of my self-induced overthought problems?
I’d like to say I took that pearl of wisdom and went from and over thinker to a woman of action, but I’d be lying. I’m working on it, but multiple choice questions can still make me panic. And the paint? I went with Palm Desert. Compared to finally deciding on what color to pick, painting the house is going to be a piece of cake. Upside down pineapple or lemon chiffon, I haven’t decided yet.