On Over-Analysis and Paralysis…Again

In the mood to write, but feeling without direction, I took a look at my Site Stats search terms.  The vast majority of them are music related, and here are the few which are not:

  • “year off from work thirties”
  • “decision paralysis by over-analysis” and “indecision and over analysis”
  • “not going to be rich and famous”
  • “an open letter to 17 year old me”

Where are the hilariously unrelated search terms, as many of you have, which have brought readers to my blog?  Maybe someday.

For the time being, I’ll stick with what I know and continue to write embarrassingly honest confessions which I may later regret posting for the world to see in the hopes that someone, somewhere will stumble across them and feel slightly less alone in their neurotic tendencies.  Or maybe it is I who seeks comfort in knowing I am not alone in suffering from over-analysis paralysis.

Because I’m not at all anal (why is there not a sarcasm font by now?), I often look up words in the dictionary, even when I have a pretty good idea of their meanings.  Here’s a definition for “neurosis” from http://dictionary.reference.com/:

1.  Also called psychoneurosis. a functional disorder in which feelings of anxiety, obsessional thoughts, compulsive acts, and physical complaints without objective evidence of disease, in various degrees and patterns, dominate the personality.
2.  A relatively mild personality disorder typified by excessive anxiety or indecision and a degree of social or interpersonal maladjustment.
I know a person is not supposed to self-diagnose, BUT…the second definition rings terribly familiar.  Excessive anxiety?  Check.  Excessive indecision (I might use the word “crippling”)?  Check.  A degree of social maladjustment?  Sure feels like it.  Am I truly neurotic?
When I was younger, I never really imagined my adult life.  There were things I wanted (and still want) to do, like make music, travel, and be a good person and contributing member of society.  But in terms of specifics, I never had that “I’m going to be a (fill-in-the-blank)” like so many other people seem to have had.  Those people who knew when they were kids what they wanted to be when they grew up.  I was never one of them.  All I knew was that I love music and want to incorporate it into my life in one way or another.
John Lennon sang, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”  Ain’t it the truth that life is full of unexpected twists and turns.  It helps to be able to let go of trying to control exactly how it will play out and just go with the flow.

In my later years of studying piano, after my favourite piano teacher had passed away, I felt like I had become stagnant.  I felt I couldn’t improvise, because I was so accustomed to reading and relying on sheet music to tell me what to play.  Now, over ten years later, one of my favourite and most freeing things to do is sit at the piano (there happens to be one in the studio where I work) and just improvise.  Sometimes I surprise myself.  It’s like, “Oh, so that’s how what I’m feeling sounds like.  Cool.”

I feel like that’s what those of us over-analyzers need to do more in life:  improvise.  This constant over-analysis of possible paths to take has led me over and over again to exactly where I am:  confused, frustrated, and feeling stagnant.

EXCEPT!  I happened to meet someone who is working on a documentary and in need of music.  I sent an email, expressing my interest in writing music for the project – and I received a reply that they would like to explore the possibility!  One step at a time.

To anyone out there who is wrestling with decisions, I encourage you to leave a comment, about whatever you feel so inclined to share.