This wasn’t supposed to be the post for the week.
I spent the first part of this week in a haze. I couldn’t pinpoint the source of this haze, and that in turn led to frustration. You start to analyze everything, and that’s when analysis by paralysis happens. You think about so many different things that you end up doing nothing at all. You end up sitting there, unable to focus, unable to type anything, or read, or do anything that you enjoy doing. It makes you feel dumb, and the doubt creeps in that maybe this is it, that maybe you have no thoughts left, or maybe you’re just turning into a machine. Maybe this is your new normal. Maybe you just wake up, go to work, and come home, and maybe there’s no magic left.
My thoughts turn to a dark place quickly, but as I reread a piece that I never posted, it got me thinking about who I was when I was a kid. I used to draw every day. Sometimes I’d sketch or trace things, pictures of family and the like, or sometimes I’d just draw whatever popped into my brain. There was so much I didn’t know about the world, but I also didn’t know how to think, or how to overthink. I knew nothing about anxiety, primarily because I didn’t have any. Maybe that’s the point. Maybe the point is to create like a kid, and while it can be hard to define what that means, I’ve figured out what it means to me. It means not thinking about what I’m going to write, but rather, opening up a word document and just going for it. Maybe that’s all that needs to happen. When I feel good, I can go for a while, and the words come effortlessly. That’s when the beauty occurs.
At some point, life’s obligations pile up, and we can’t just be people that do whatever they feel like doing. We become less whimsical and more calculated, constrained, locked into the lives we’re living, and before long we’re stuck in situations and we can’t extricate ourselves. Maybe that’s why I fear commitment. I fear being stuck in some situation that dampens or destroys my creativity, and now that I’ve found this feeling I have, I’m not ready to part with it just yet. Of course, finding the perfect mate and the ideal situation might only enhance my creativity, but that’s a post for another day. Love is important, but it’s not the topic of this post.
Despite not wanting to think so much, the thoughts swirl in my head like the contents of a cauldron. I thought about the last week of my marathon training, when I was running not to get hurt, or running scared. Bad memories crept into my head like silent assassins, and they made me paranoid that in my last week of training, I’d get injured and ruin the whole thing, my months of hard work. Early on, I’d run with reckless abandon, not worrying if I got hurt because I expected it to happen. I ran like kids run, just excited to be out there. I was full of energy, full of joy. I may have felt like I was flying, or at the very least levitating. When I began my training, I was playing with house money. If I ran and got hurt, then I’d be fine because my hopes were never too high. If I didn’t get injured, and made it to the end and actually ran the race, then I’d be in good shape. Despite my anxiety, I ran the race of my life and accomplished a huge goal of mine, but it’s hard not to think that I almost blew it by being timid.
That doubt creeps in, and rather than taking chances, we hold ourselves back. We think of all the things that could potentially go wrong, rather than being confident in ourselves. We don’t gamble enough. We don’t push ourselves enough. We don’t shake up our lives and go for something we want, something we’ve never had before. It can be comfortable where we are, but comfort is the silent killer, the demon that lures us into a feeling of complacency. When you’re happy with where you are, and you stop putting forth as much effort, I don’t know about you, but to me, that’s the beginning of the end.
I sit here and write this knowing that I’m not taking chances myself. I do give into logic and reason, and I’m risk-averse on the whole. The biggest risk I took in life was moving to New York City, and after three-and-a-half years, I moved back home, feeling dejected and like I had failed.
About a year ago, a friend of mine told me that she thought I’d travel the world after college. I thought about that for a while. Maybe I wanted to be or would have been a world traveler, but things took a bit of a turn when college ended, and I couldn’t move freely about the world. A few years later, I did take a chance and move to the city, but after studying abroad, my aspiration of being a world traveler has never come to fruition. Maybe it wasn’t real. Maybe I wanted to travel the world because it seemed like the thing to say when so many of my friends were making plans to go out and see all there was to see. I’m not saying that I’ll never be that person; I just know that that version of me doesn’t presently exist.
It’s something we have to work at, to be more spontaneous. We have to break the monotony. Do more and think less. Begin to think about all of the things that could go well if you bring positive vibes into the equation, and then stop thinking altogether. I don’t want to sit down and audit my life each and every day. I know that a periodic audit can be useful, but at a certain point the returns diminish, and you’re just going to pick yourself apart while you sit there in your own misery. It’s a brutal place to be, and I’d rather not think about all of the things I could have done, things I said no to for one reason or another. I’m learning to beat back my anxiety, and to drown out the voice in my head that tells me I can’t do something. Maybe I can’t do that thing, but if I fail, the story will be worth writing about. Sounds like a win-win either way. Thanks for reading.