365 Challenge: Day 29 – Pensive

Pensive: engaged in, involving, or reflecting deep or serious thought

The word pensive brings to mind Hamlet’s question of “To be, or not to be,” a (wo)man in the throes of the unknown and undecided, lost in indulgent analysis and trapped by an inertia, holding on for dear life. OK, that’s quite negative and exaggerated… but it’s not too far off from my truth.

The brain is a willful and strong organ within our body. It runs without its owner even realizing it; yet, at the same time, when the owner focuses, (s)he knows they are deep in thought. Thought is a powerful concept. And when you are in reflection, contemplating small and big things, you are being pensive. Pensive is a state-of-mind, a transfer of consciousness from the norm and reachable, to the distant and preoccupied.


I’m often pensive. I am a thinker. I cover hundreds of topics, images, thoughts and questions throughout the day — all willingly and consciously — challenging myself to push the envelope further and further as time goes by. Sometimes the momentary focus is about the purpose of life, and at others, it is whether or not it’s time to re-model the bathroom. I like thinking. I enjoy questioning. I love getting caught up in the process of considering things that are around me.

Though I’ve confessed to being obsessive, I’m not obsessive about being pensive. And I’ve noted that I’m pragmatic, hence not getting too caught up weighing the pros and cons of a decision, taking forever to finally decide. It’s a fine balance between the two, resulting in people often seeing me as “too much in my head.”

And that’s really the definition of being pensive — being too much in one’s head, in the clouds. Instead of actually getting out and taking a chance by following through on some action or decision, your mind critically analyzes and ponders, considering all the options and outcomes. Wondering how to go about something, what it may be, rather than letting it just happen. It means enjoying thinking about something more than actually doing said something. Sometimes it can drive a person crazy.

  • Pensive can be good. It can be relaxing. It’s a form of meditation and energy.
  • Pensive can be bad. It can hold you back, a way to create false boundaries and limits.

While I can be completely lost in a thought, I am not the type to lose my connection with my surroundings all too often. I may not realize someone’s called my name, or perhaps I miss the rain drops starting to fall for a few moments… but the depth or the degree of the lost consciousness in minimal. It’s like the very first and early stage of sleep; you know things are happening around you, but the temptation isn’t strong enough that you can ignore the sensations.

For me, it’s that I rather enjoy thinking and less doing (unless it we’re talking about completing tasks of things on my To Do list). I’m not saying I am lazy. I’m just saying I am more comfortable and in a natural state when I am pondering, rather than acting on ideas like skiing or fencing (eh, seemed like appropriate things). I respect those that are more active in their day, feeling the energy from an intense work-out. My energy comes from processing ideas and emotions… creating images and sounds in my head that drive realizations and memories.

Have you ever watched someone who is lost in thought? Noticed the focus of their eyes? The awkward position they may be sitting or standing in? Watched the circular path they seem trapped by? And then that moment when they realize how far they’ve gone, startled back into reality? Sometimes they recognize where they are. Others, it’s as if they’ve no idea how they got to that place. Powerful. Strong. Intense. Pensive.

I often think I’d like to be a little less pensive, a step or two removed from always feeling the forces that hold me back from just doing something. It happens sometimes, but like the 80/20 rule, and perhaps 90/10 in my case, it is my mind that overworks itself before the action follows through. Inventors are pensive. Poets are pensive. Dreamers are pensive. Creators are pensive.

And so is “The Thinker,” Rodin’s famous French sculpture. See here for more on this statue. I often feel like this bronze creation… and I think I’m good with that. How about you? Are you a thinker? Or are you a doer?  Doer… such a weirdly spelled word… almost seems wrong.

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post.

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