Anxiety, my old friend


I worry about quite a bit.

The end of the world, for starters, and its corollary, the not-end of the world and the worry that we will not be able to adequately care for its inhabitants, which will, of course, bring about the end of the world.

I worry about whether I will make it to the airport in time for the plane, this, no matter how early we leave to arrive there. (Which, as a point of reference, is always so that I will arrive at the airport a good two hours before the plane's scheduled departure.)

I worry that I do not love The BF enough, and sometimes (more often, I'm ashamed to say), that he does not love me enough and always that I will outlive him (and everyone else I love, last one on the planet, don't forget to turn out the lights). I worry about that one mole on my arm, and that it's been overly long since I've been to the dermatologist, and that when I do finally go I'll hear that because I've waited so long my entire arm will have to be amputated.

I worry that I don't read enough anymore, and that my critical thinking skills are deteriorating. I worry that I read too much of the same sorts of stuff, marketing and creativity and happiness-related materials, and that I am turning into a cheesehead denizen of the Idiocracy who knows only made-up and strung together half-bits of history.

I worry that I am writing too much, and that it affects the quality of my output. (Note: this replaces my previous worry, that I was writing too little to make any sort of gain in skill, much less impact on the world.) I worry that I left the door unlocked, the candle burning and the iron on, this, despite the hard reality that I have not pressed a thing since at least 2007.

And last week, I worried that I was a sham and a fraud, that I would do a horrible job presenting my little segment during what I was sure would be a stellar workshop by the brilliant Pam Slim (note: it was and she is), and that everyone would hate me.

According to Pam, or to her coach, Martha Beck, whom she was quoting, anxiety is totally normal. It is a normal thing to experience some level of HOLY CHRIST when undertaking a new endeavor. I suppose in this way it is like the little bit of butterfly action one can get in one's tummy before even the 347th time one heads out onto the stage to play one's part for the evening: if we are really and truly in the moment, everything is always at least a little bit new and certainly live, and with that set of circumstances, shit can happen.

It's okay. I'm okay, and the workshop was great. We all had fun, far more than many of us suspected (especially those of us who have developed the neat trick of showing up to the party expecting to have a bad time, that we might be pleasantly surprised).

I think that I will become really nervous when I stop being nervous at all. It is those moments where I have felt nothing or even dread because I am all too familiar with something that scare me now.

Keep reaching, just a little bit, until you feel the anxiety. Even if it is just a frisson of thrill. Reach reach reach.

The world, she is in your hands...


Image by RBerteig via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.