By Donna Ambler on 2 May 2018
I’ll admit I’m an overthinker. Worse still, I continue to beat myself up about things that have happened and decisions that I’ve made – I ponder for way too long.
I’ve always thought the verb ponder has a relaxing feel to it - it looks like wonder, but then you add the image of water lilies and sitting by a pond and it starts to make me think of wandering gently along the water’s edge, without a care in the world. Not at all like the busy mess that is usually going on in my head.
Ponder makes me think of the part of a yoga class when they ask you to just lie with your eyes closed and remove all random thoughts – like what you’re going to cook for dinner or pack in lunchboxes, or all the unfinished projects on your list.
The Oxford Dictionaries define ponder as: to think about (something) carefully, especially before making a decision or reaching a conclusion, as in ‘I pondered the question of what clothes to wear for the occasion’. This makes it sound like a calm, structured process – not a scramble of random thoughts.
I like the definition by Wordpandit of using your mental gears: ‘It’s like putting up a weighing machine in one’s mind, where instead of weighing physical quantities, we weight different thoughts and their pros and cons.’ That’s more like it – I can see all the cogs of the weighing machine moving backwards and forwards and interconnecting and that’s the busy pondering in my head most of the time.
The weighing scale analogy links back to the verb’s origins. It comes from the Old French word ponderer: to consider; and from Latin’s ponderare: to weigh.
One of the reasons my mind is in a scramble right now is that I’m planning for an overseas holiday when we won’t be taking our children. That means there is so much more to arrange before we leave. But I’m hoping that a change of scenery will be good for the soul and good for the mind. We’re going with very close friends and I know we will have fun and relax. So here’s to pondering at a much slower pace.