I get scared a lot.
Scared that I’m spreading myself too thin; that I’m sacrificing quality for quantity. That I am trying to be too much for too many things. That I have too many priorities. That I have too many habits, too many rules.
Scared that if I am not doing enough; I’m simply wasting time and potential. Scared that soon I’m going to get bored. Scared that I’m going to get burnt out with “recouperating” and that parts of me are atrophying.
I’m scared that the shiny, endless rocket ships of dreams I have are launching towards the moon without me.
Scared that my dreams are too endless, too vast, too cavernous and too expansive. I can’t hope to control their raging tides; what if my own dreams are too much for me? What if I am kidding myself? What if I expect too much from myself?
Even worse: what if I end up hating my own dreams?
I’m scared I’m not eating the right foods. Reading the right books. Listening to the right podcasts. Drinking the right tea. Writing the right words. Thinking the right thoughts.
So I sit myself down. I curl up into my Patagonia sweater and my black flowy pants with mint ginger tea and a fuzzy blanket. Some slow Ebony Quartet plays from the speaker on my desk; low and slow.
I open up my ipad and sync my bluetooth keyboard. I pull up a blank google doc: title it, Gratitude.
I begin: words flow out of my mind in a numbered list, I cycle through and through the enormous amounts of positive reinforced memory storage rattling around in my mind, having a disco party waiting for me to call attention to it once more.
Austria. My running shoes. This apartment. My flatmates.
My fingers fly across the keys; nothing can stop me now, not the whooshing of the cars outside my window, not the humming of the music from the apartment above me. Not the squeaky floors, not the pounding of the air conditioning unit.
I am a gratitude machine when I want to be.
Gratitude helps things. It really does. It helps with loneliness, anxiety, sadness, boredom, fear.
I spend the next fifteen minutes pounding away, hitting well into the double digits of items out of which radiate goodness and pureness. I don’t stop to justify them, I simply let them exist on the page.
Breathless, I push myself out of my cross-legged position and inhale deeply. I close the lid of my ipad, and observe.
I feel…a little better.
But just a little.
I am still restless. Unsettled. Like I have both too much energy and not enough.
Gratitude does help. It helps to get out of the pity-party-for-one-please. It helps to get out of the cycle of internal demoralization. It helps to gain perspective on one’s own life.
But in this specific situation: what I needed…what I need…is simply not to fix everything.
Much of my fears have to do with the underlying panic of not being in control. Fear of the future; fear of becoming bored; fear of becoming burnt out; fear of not doing/saying/thinking/writing “correctly”…all of these fears oscilate around the theme of control.
What does it even mean to be in control?
The optimal state of control is the ability to be accepting of not being in control. From there–from that mindset–one is free. And when one is free, they are in control.
So I take a deep breath. I snuggle further into my Patagonia sweater and my flowy pants and my fuzzy blanket. I let the whistles of the distant train outside my window wash over me. And I let myself be scared. Be scared of whatever pleases me to be scared of at the moment.
Control is a myth. And when I accept that, I realize that I am in control.
Peace and Blessings,