I am the opposite of a procrastinator. The uncertainty that comes with waiting until the last minute to do things just doesn’t sit well with me. Not to mention my tendency to wonder what I’ll be doing in 10 years and how I can possibly get a jump start on it now. And let’s not forget my habitual act of playing out every worst-case scenario in my mind when I can’t sleep or sifting through moments from the past that I wish had been different.
In some ways, trying to stay ahead of the game can be a good thing. But the reality is, in those moments, I don’t feel ahead of the game. I feel overwhelmed and restless. I feel nervous and afraid. I feel like I can’t seem to enjoy my present experience because I’m so focused on what might, could, hypothetically, in some far off future scenario, happen. I feel like I can’t control life.
A few weeks ago, I hit the peak of my anxiety in one of my downward spiral moments and where I struggled to find answers to every single area of my life at once (because that’s realistic), I decided to call a time out. Well, first, I had a good ‘I (literally) can’t (even) deal’ cry, and then I called a time out to try and do something productive with how I was feeling.
Assuming that my personal experience was at least somewhat universal, as a lot of the things that feel the most shameful and isolating tend to be, I figured I’d share what helps me to work through the haphazard moments of life.
Over-worked, under-slept, and feeling pressure like whoa? There are plenty of ways to find calm—without investing in a 90-minute massage. Turns out all you need is a pair of healthy lungs, your breath, and 10 minutes or less.
One of the biggest pitfalls for me, is the idea that everything is urgent. While undoubtedly, there are moments where multiple – and necessary – tasks are competing for my attention, I also know realistically that they can’t all be done at once. Typically, if I take the time to sift through my to-dos and determine what’s most essential, the rest falls into place. And, sometimes what’s most important isn’t that I pay my bills the exact moment they arrive, but instead, that I take the time to find joy in the present and do something that is good for me.
I know, I know, leave it to the yoga therapist to throw this one in. I can’t imagine my life without its therapeutic benefits. My yoga practice has been my life raft in those moments I feel like I am drowning. Sometimes all it takes is rolling out my mat and turning to a 20-minute bedtime sequence for me to completely shift how I’m feeling and to rediscover how important it is to my physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being to simply be present, move, and breathe.
I have come to realize that maybe today, or this month, or this year isn’t about finding the answers. Maybe it’s not my moment to see the bright light shining 10 years into my future. I don’t have to figure it all out right now. Maybe I never will (I don’t mean that in some pessimistic, here comes the struggle bus, woe is me, kind of way). I mean that to say that cliché as it sounds, life is a journey. And from time to time, the future isn’t clear and that’s okay.
I’ve felt it all – the lack of purpose and also great passion, the not knowing where to step next and the feeling that I’m right where I’m meant to be, the urge to control and the learning to loosen the grip – and I’m still discovering and learning those lessons daily. I wondered how I’d make it through my first few years of college, and yet somehow, I did. I changed my major, went to graduate school, had a baby in grad school, and then started my own business. Admittedly, I’m not where I thought I’d be by now, but I’ve been a lot of places, done a lot of things, and met a lot of really cool people along the way. So perhaps what I’m missing now isn’t so much clear and concise map of my future, but the faith, confidence, and trust that it’s going to be alright and that I’m going to be alright.
“Embrace the unknown. Embrace the chaos. The most amazing and transformative times in your life are the unexpected ones.The times you did not plan and the ones you did not think were going to make a big difference in your life.” – Suzanne Wagner
I love to hear from you! What are some things you do when you are feeling up against the wall or caught up in your head?
With a Grateful Heart,