If I move my bishop forward…then he’ll have to move his queen…Then I can finally take that pawn with my knight, and his king will be in check. Strategy.
Oh no…we’re sitting in his car listening to Goo Goo Dolls after the first date. Here comes the emotional conversation about past relationships, then the attempted arm around my seat transitioning into an attempted consolation around my shoulder and an ever so sly attempt at a kiss, eventually there will be the dreaded “what are you looking for/what do you want” question, followed by an awkward silence because I don’t feel like talking about this nor do I know what I want, which should conclude the evening. Prediction.
Graduate from college, find a job in the city because that’s where the money is, get married and have kids before I’m too old, develop a routine of cooking, watching ER dramas, and looking forward to Zumba Thursdays with the girls. Conclusion? A decent life, stable, but a bit mediocre and routine for me. Results.
So, I did move my bishop forward. And he did move his queen, as planned. He moved his queen right in front of my king with such grace and effortlessness that I didn’t even realize I was in checkmate until he nonchalantly said the word. I nod slowly in surprise and agreement. Sometimes life blindsides you, and your plan is nothing but crumbled intention. So, what’s the new plan? To not have one.
Strategy, prediction, results. It’s how I think. I was blessed and cursed with overthinking. It’s a blessing because I tend to be thorough, organized, and generally intuitive. However, overanalyzing a situation as minute as what deodorant to buy can be inconvenient and mentally exhausting. When my feelings are introduced, a paradox is born. I often feel so passionately about things that it’s unrealistic. My dreams, desires and interests are often illogical or grandiose. There’s no sense of order or strategy, no plan, no prediction and especially no results aside from aiming for happiness. Not only am I an overthinker, I’m an over-feeler. What happens when an organized mind and a chaotic spirit merge? Complexity.
John Lennon knew what he was talking about when he stated that “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” I sometimes find myself lost in plans, only to realize I’ve missed out on other aspects of life that can only be appreciated if you live in the moment: aging, loving, experiencing. Suddenly you’re about to turn 24 and you just want to sit and have tea with your grandma in between budgeting student loans and car insurance. Other times you want to sit and absorb all the colors of the sunset and not have anywhere to be or anyone to contact in that moment, because it’s all so temporary. We are so temporary.
I’m often so busy overanalyzing or planning ten steps ahead that I forget to do the most crucial thing to our survival: breathing. Have you ever found that you breathe just shallow enough to sustain consciousness? Here is where mindfulness is introduced. It’s the key to living in the now, something I’m trying to become better at. “C’est la vie” an old friend reassures me. “Feel first, think later” a wise customer tells me at work. Truth is, life is about having an awareness and looking at the big picture. It was our original survival tactic: being aware of our surroundings, aware of our enemies, aware of our physical and mental state. Breathing is the core of our existence, so next time you need to focus on living in the moment, be aware of that breath you’re taking.
If you’re an overthinking, over-feeling individual that treats life like a chess match such as myself, there’s nothing wrong with taking baby steps and moving a pawn out one space. The measly pawn has little value until its battled its way to the other side of the board, where it can claim any piece back that it wants. It’s okay to not have a plan, to be a pawn that just keeps moving forward. Love your complexities and your contradictions. And most importantly, don’t forget to breathe.