On bad news, over-thinking and surprising peace

Over-thinker — maybe it belongs up in the top-left corner with “Editor, Writer, Federer Fan.”

February has been a challenging month, leaving me, unfortunately, with ample opportunity to consider how I cope with bad news, both personally and in the workplace. Amid all my ruminating on the unfortunate, I’ve become more conscious of the things that bring me peace.

Now I’m not talking ‘peaceful’ — I can’t sit still, I talk entirely too quickly when I get excited and I once drank eight mugs of highly caffeinated tea in a day. I’m talking brief, even if fleeting moments of peace, moments when menacing, nagging feelings of inadequacy, doubt and worry fade, replaced with gratitude for the pure, beautiful things I rarely give due credit.

Tennis, strangely, is ‘peace’ defined in my world. There’s something starkly beautiful about the game. Without on-court coaching and crowded sidelines, tennis is a gorgeous spectacle of mental and physical athleticism.

Tennis is lonely, to quote Andre Agassi, but that’s why I find it comforting. No one else experiences the narrative of the game like the player, with fans, coaches, umpires and announcers perched high above, ball kids and photojournalists crouching below.

There is uncontested ownership of the tennis narrative you can’t find in any other sport, I argue. A profoundly internal game fit for the over-thinker in me. On the court, I can exist in my natural state of being, meditating and reflecting in peace without anyone invading my narrative.

Peace, for me, also exists in bookmarks and baked goods. Even as a professional communicator and writer, I sometimes have trouble telling others I care for them. Writing a custom Arabic bookmark or baking a batch of my favorite snickerdoodle muffins provides a tangible way to express it without the pressure of organizing my often-rambling thoughts.

I admit when I decided to blog tonight, I initially felt the urge to rant, to be negative, to linger on the disappointments and sad news of the past month.

But “over-thinker,” I realized, isn’t always a negative trait. Rather, it’s an opportunity to be mindful of that which I ponder relentlessly, almost painstakingly, at times.

Tonight I made a cognizant choice to over-think a few things that really bummed me out, yes, but I likewise made a choice to over-think the little moments of peace that pepper even the bad and ugly.

Much like the moment the umpire calls, “Quiet, please,” silencing all the heckling, booing and other sport-fueled angst. Then, finally, a beautiful narrative can unfold on the court.

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