“Warning: my train of thought might be missing a few tracks … I’ve reached an age where it often leaves without me.”
Don’t get me wrong, I love train travel. There’s something romantic about being cocooned inside a carriage watching life roll by, however these days things aren’t quite as simple as they used to be.
Years ago in Italy, we boarded a country train from Florence to the mountains of Aosta. The passing landscape was so different to Australia but I’ll never forget the sense of freedom and the excitement of heading into the unknown.
Another flashback: Growing up I often caught the train from Sale to Melbourne, a three hour trip. The journey to the big smoke on the “Red Rattler” was always tinged with a mixture of excitement, worry and nerves.
And that’s how I feel about my life right now.
If there’s one word that describes me it’s ‘Overthinker.’ Perhaps that can be the name of my hypothetical train.
Climb on board if you’re game. The Overthinker is unpredictable, often slow and scenic, but at other times it’s fast, frantic and everything around it feels like a blur.
I’ve always been a deep thinker and tend to over analyse and worry about situations, getting ahead of myself in my head. However, as I get older I realise I could be making the trip a lot smoother and less stressful.
There are handles for a reason. They come in the form of the real deal but mostly they come in the form of inner courage.
Hold on tight when the train’s going fast. If it’s crowded, you’ll find yourself leaning on someone. That’s okay. There’s always other passengers feeling the same way but ultimately you’re on your own.
Accept that this is your journey and yours alone and know that the scenery will change and your needs will change too. Stay steady and keep going. That’s all you have to do.
I’ve come to notice when I’m on this spiral track which can be a good thing.
Being aware of my thoughts allows me to choose whether the train (and worry) picks up speed or changes direction. Those little choices in life often chart the track on which we run.
We always have the power to shift our thoughts. Shift, shift, refocus. To switch onto a different line of thinking, a more positive one.
Hit Pause and Breath
Sometimes we just need to slow it all down, breath deeply and put the brakes on. We all know that 99% of stuff that we worry about never eventuates. So, why do we spend so much time stressing?
Another train always comes. Life is full of missed trains but even if we miss one, there’s always another train pulling into the station and another opportunity.
Make a date with your doubt
“The Hurstbridge train has been delayed and will arrive five minutes late” says the voice over the loud speaker. Sometimes delays are unavoidable, and so’s that worry.
Schedule a time to worry if there’s something on your mind. Rather than let it consume you tell yourself you’ll think about it 4pm Friday afternoon (or whenever). Chances are by the time it comes around, something’s happened to change the situation.
And if it hasn’t, then you can deal with it. At least you haven’t spent the last two days worrying unnecessarily. Just get on with life, knowing that when the time comes, whatever happens, you can handle it.
We can’t predict who’s going to get on or off the train, just as we can’t predict who’s going to come into our life and affect us. Often people will be with us till the very last stop, but sometimes people come into our life for only a short period of time.
Have you ever struck up a conversation with someone on a train, or anywhere, and really connected, and then they hop off and you never see them again. It’s happened to me.
They jump on at one stop, keep you company for a while, maybe even teach you a lesson or two and then they disappear. We don’t realise it but usually they come into our life for a reason.
Imagine the best
Put your positive hat on and envision the best, knowing that if the worst case scenario happens you’ll deal with it. You’re strong and you’ve dealt with everything that’s happened in your life, you’ll handle this too.
Remember, you can always redirect that train. You can always redirect your thinking.
“The biggest mystery of our journey is that we never really know when the final stop will come. Neither do we know when our travel companions will make their last stop. Not even those sitting in the seat next to us.”
So, let’s make the best of the journey and be grateful for every single day. Stay awake to all the joy, the friendships, the adventure and those unexpected stations and stops along the way.
For somewhere along the line we will find, not simply our platform, but our passion and our purpose.
Perhaps we should re-name the ‘Overthinker’ to the ‘Hope Train’. Who’s hopping on board with me?
Have a happy August.
In light and love as we continue the journey.
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Outanabout YOLO “You only live once”