In my childhood, I didn’t spend much of my time thinking, “What shall I do next?” At least I don’t think I did. I did things, then when I tired of doing those things or I thought of something else to do, I did other things. If I couldn’t do the things I wanted to do, I either thought of something else to do or asked the adult who was currently available and serving as my current caregiver if I could do the things I wanted to do. Unless, of course, it was obvious to me that I wouldn’t be able to do those things, in which case I thought of something else to do. There were, of course, many occasions when ‘thinking’ about what I wanted to do was not an option. The requirements of the available adults, those who were currently ‘in charge,’ meant that there were many occasions when I was required to do what the adult or adults required me to do. Go to a certain school lesson. Do the things required of me in that lesson. Clean my room. Get ready for school. Get ready for bed. Help my dad with the washing up. Move some breeze blocks. Help with the gardening. And so on. Some of the above did not necessarily require that the available adult(s) specifically request, normally by verbal means, that I “tidy my room” or whatever, but were moreso required by the situation and/or circumstances: for example, I should get ready to go to school or sixth form college, because it was a particular time in the morning, and if I didn’t get ready to go to school or sixth form college at that time, then I wouldn’t get there in time. I was a dawdler, no question about it, but I also hated to be late for things, hated to get in trouble, particularly with people in authority (e.g. teachers), so I would generally do whatever was required of me to prevent this from happening – being late for something or getting in trouble, that is.
The point is, generally, that there was little time, potential or scope for ‘thinking’ in childhood. That is, thinking about what to do, thinking about what to do next, and so on. I did think. I was quite a big thinker. Then and now, my mind was usually full of some kind of thoughts. And it’s not to say that I didn’t think thoughts along the lines of, “I will now watch Ski Sunday with my brother,” or, “I will now ask Grandad if we can go and rent a video from the video shop,” or, “I am hungry, so I will now go and make a cheese sandwich” – but said thoughts were, I would say, in the sense that I actually remember any of such things, not particularly at the forefront of my mind, but more unconscious or semi-conscious precedents to what I did. They preceded action, but they didn’t hold much conscious presence in my mind.
Less so in adulthood. Again, I am a big thinker. I have endeavoured, of late, to try and reduce the amount of thinking that my brain expends energy upon. Thinking about what I will do, what I should have done, what I will say to so-and-so about such-and-such, and so on. Rarely, nowadays, will I just ‘do.’ I will think about what to do, whether I should do it, whether there is something else I should be doing, then I will do a thing based on this pre-doing analysis. As you can probably imagine, I don’t get as much ‘done’ as I might otherwise. There are times when ‘doing’ exceeds or surpasses ‘thinking about doing,’ but I would say that perhaps these times do not occur often enough. And the whole point of writing all the words above is that I intend forthwith to increase ‘doing’ and decrease ‘thinking about doing’! So there you are. That’s that. So what shall I do next…?