Jul. 20th, 2010

wlotus: (Princess)
Over the weekend I found words to express the anxiety that tends to hum in the background of my consciousness every day. I'm afraid that no matter what I do, I won't have enough money to do all I need (and want) to do in life. It doesn't help that I am making much less right now than I was making when I worked as a hardware engineer. Furthermore, I had always associated my ability to have enough with that career. Even then I worried about having enough; now that I am on a different path, my anxiety has gone up exponentially.

I flung a slew of "What ifs" at T to explain why I was so concerned. Then in her matter-of-fact, blunt way she said, "You need to stop panicking."

*blinkblink* Stop? Panicking? But isn't that long list of "What Ifs" full of very good reasons to panic?

Perhaps so, but there's a problem: panicking isn't helping me be prepared for any of those what ifs. What helps me be prepared is, surprise, what I am already doing: things like making sure I have other skills I can use to earn money, living within my means, paying my bills, and saving some money each pay period...and occasionally buying something nice for myself and/or T. What more can I expect from myself and still be fair to myself?

Panicking is the same thing as saying what I am doing with my life is not good enough. When I don't panic, I am giving myself credit for being on the right track. As for the worst-case scenarios, it is best to briefly acknowledge them (as opposed to panicking over them) and then return to living a day at a time.

That living a day at a time stuff is particularly hard for me, because I have always had a tendency to look down the road and see the possible outcomes of my actions. This tendency has helped me avoid a lot of pain, and I am grateful for it. However, when coupled with my tendency to obsess over bad things, project them into the future, and attempt to find the One Right AnswerTM to permanently avoid those bad things, it has caused me a lot of anxiety. That combination of traits is what led to the weekend's conversation with T and is probably linked to the nervous habits I have of picking/tearing at my hair and grinding my teeth.

"You need to learn how to live in the moment," she also said. Since I have the bases covered as much as I can in my current circumstances, the best thing for me to do is relax. Enjoy now. Stop patrolling the proverbial wall looking for holes to stick my fingers into and embrace what is going on right in front of me. So I have been doing that...and it is HARD. Some moments I feel like I am potentially missing something important, and isn't that a new crack in the wall's foundation, by the way?????????? (No, [livejournal.com profile] wlotus, it's a harmless spider. Stop that!) But my head is quieter. I have been more focused. I have felt happier. My muscles have been less clenched, even though I have been working out a lot of residual nervous energy. These are good things.

Each morning since that conversation (and throughout the day) I say to myself, "Today I am not panicking." I've even been writing it in my paper journal. That's what I've been doing the past two day I haven't posted: practicing not panicking. With T's help, I think I can get used to this.


wlotus: (Default)

October 2010


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