My start to 2019 has been a busy one. From closing on a house and getting ready to move in my personal life to having new projects and tight deadlines dumped on me at work, I’ve had plenty to keep me busy. In some ways this is better for my anxiety, forcing my mind to stay so busy that I can’t dwell on past details. In lieu of having specific things to worry about, I find myself worried that I am so busy that I will forget something important or else worried that I am too busy, that I am too caught up in the rat race to enjoy life, even if it comes with an unhealthy dose of anxiety at times.
Of course, a few years ago when I was in between jobs and tight on spending money, I constantly worried that I wasn’t busy enough. Even now, when I find myself with too much free time, I sometimes worry that I should be doing more. The ironic thing about that is that my anxiety over what I should actually be doing often keeps me stuck doing nothing, too anxious about doing the wrong thing to actually make a move in any direction. In short, I never feel like there is a middle ground for my anxiety.
I know that everyone experiences anxiety at times. Is this the right time to switch careers? Are our finances secure enough to build an addition on the house? Did I lock the door this morning? (Author’s note: This is my daily constant source of anxiety as I picture a door hanging wide open, inviting burglars to steal all my stuff despite the fact that has never happened). To a certain extent anxiety can be good, the productive counterbalance to impulsivity. Yet, I feel as if everyone else lives in this magical “Goldilocks Zone” of anxiety where it doesn’t weigh on their brains every second of everyday, telling them they should slow down, then speed up again, then slow down again, turn left, turn right, stop, stop worrying, just stop, an endless voice whispering that you’re doing the wrong thing, that you should be doing something different. I am sure Goldilocks never had that problem (seriously, sleep in a stranger’s bed and steal their food, even if I was dead tired and starving, my anxiety would probably prevent me from even knocking on the door).
Though these thoughts are always there, I’ve learned to tell them to shut up. It doesn’t make them go away, but it makes it easier for me to live my life. I tell myself that the decisions I’ve made and the path I’ve taken has generally turned out pretty well (except for when the path disappeared altogether, but that is a story for next time). Sure, I’m anxious that one day that I’ll tell myself that and I’ll end up being wrong with drastic consequences, but I’ll just have to worry about crossing that bridge when the time comes.