Here is a pre-pandemic scenario for my dinner delivery. At 5:00 PM, I would start flipping over the glossy flyers I’ve collected. I would browse over the menu, then pause. Get another flyer, and then browse again. Then I would mull over things like glycemic index of ingredients, and how many times the cook re-use the cooking oil for frying. Minutes would pass and I would browse again. This would go on for two hours. At about 7:00 PM. I would finally make the call for my delivery: spicy chicken wings and Yangchow fried rice. Two hours wasted on finally deciding to call a restaurant that has provided my dinner so many times, to order food that I have been ordering for at least five years.
And that’s pre-pandemic. Imagine how this has changed for the worse in the time of corona. Two hours have become three or even four hours . Now, aside from the hypocritical thinking about carbs, carcinogens and glycemic index, I dwell on all sort of things . Which restaurant has the highest sanitation standard? Which kitchen and delivery staff would likely wash their hands consistently ? And so on. Then, after three hours of thinking and stalling , I would place an order for —-you’ve guessed it —-spicy chicken wings and Yangchow fried rice. Yup. From the same restaurant. Or, if I feel over cautious, I would open a can of tuna.
This is just a small slice of my life where I waste so much time.
I estimate that one-third of my life has been wasted on indecisions and overthinking. And many times, it’s about the most shallow and trivial stuff. Another example, I would waste time thinking whether to my exercise indoors or walk around the neighbourhood. I would analyse the pros and cons of each, just short of doing an Excel sheet in tabulating each side. And many times, I end up doing neither of the two because the overthinking has already exhausted me.
I squander precious minutes trying to decide whether to start a fresh towel, or keep on using the one in the bathroom. I would sniff the latter, try to recall how many times I’ve dried myself with it. Then, I’ll try to find —- with my naked eyes—- any sign of germs. Still undecided, I would linger around my room, then — go back to the bathroom. Sniff again, and then decide to use it for one more bath. What a waste of a good twenty minutes.
Should I download a slow, sentimental song? Yes? Wouldn’t that ruin my country rock playlist?
Should I “like” a Facebook post? But I don’t really like it, though I do like the person.
Should I call the building maintenance boy to clean my ceiling fan? Or do I protect my privacy , clean it myself and just risk my life and limb while standing precariously on a chair?
Should I eat that SPAM meatloaf that is three days past its expiration date? What if it kills me? What would they do with my body? I’m in a foreign land.
Indecisions. Overthinking. These are the wasters and killers of life.
I could have used those wasted minutes and hours learning a new skill, like video editing or coding. I could have used those times doing real exercise, and I would have freed myself from a lot of medication. Or I could just have consistently, and actually, written for this blog, instead of dilly-dallying about a topic, and could have earned a thousand followers by now.
I could have used those times to build a business, and I could have already graced the cover of Forbes Magazine by now. I could have written a novel or a blockbuster screenplay with all the days I have wasted —- and could have delivered an Oscar speech by now. I could have already achieved great things . Could have…
I blame my busy life as a teacher for my mediocre achievements. But no. It’s not that. I am terrible at managing my time, my thoughts and my habits. Overthinking has always immobilised me, and rendered futile a lot of days, months and years. And now I am overthinking again whether I have enough time and the will power to overcome overthinking before it’s too late.