|Photo courtesy of www.candraward.com.|
Anxiety is real. I felt it creep upon me, slowly at first, then overtaking me to the point of no return. I was desperate for a career move that would lead to fulfillment, more money, a home and a shorter commute. I felt this would help put roots down in my new city, which in turn would reduce my homesickness. On top of all of this, I wanted a meaningful relationship that would ultimately lead to commitment and children—I wanted (still want) this more than anything. This last item tipped the scales of my anxiety, causing a very real tear in my façade of composure.
I started going over my relationship timeline. After crunching the numbers I realized if I found someone right then (like at that very moment while stuck in traffic on the 101), I could hopefully become a first-time mother around 36 or 37. The problem was I wanted to be finished having kids by that time, not beginning. I was behind—a proverbial late bloomer. My heart sank; a surprising hurt overwhelmed me. I felt inferior, unwanted and damaged. Things weren’t panning out and there seemed like there was no hope on the horizon. I was so hungry to make a move in my life—career, relationship, family that I couldn’t see anything else. I was agitated, angry, frustrated and somewhat depressed. I was tired of everything: Los Angeles, traffic, bad dates, flaky guys, mediocre friendships, a stressful job, the congestion and pressure of it all turned me into a ball of angst.
My anxiety level rose considerably. The only thing I could think was this is never going to happen for me. None of it: career, family, freedom, a more grown up life. I had read article after article telling women how to maximize their dating or how to live life to the fullest but in the end I felt striving for fulfillment was the greatest hurdle of all—one that had me paralyzed with fear. I was consumed with the image of how my life was supposed to be that I couldn’t see anything else. The nature of our American culture is to get an education, a career, family and maybe some life fulfillment. I wanted to obtain these goals but because I felt I wasn’t achieving them in a timely matter affected me more than it should have. As much as I knew it was unrealistic to feel this way—I couldn’t move past the fear of being stuck and unable to get out.
I was out of control in terms of my anxiety but more importantly, I didn’t have control over my current situation. Everything was in a holding pattern—job opportunities, moves, money and even relationships. I was fighting life waves, struggling to achieve to my goals but unable to move forward. On my lunch break I sat in my car under a shady tree and contemplated running away. As I wiped tears from my eyes, I realized I was overwhelmed. I talked myself out of trying to escape while searching for another way to move through the discomfort and pain.
I started breathing—in and out, in and out. This began the process of letting go. As I calmed my thinking through deep breathing, I was led to a place of acceptance; I accepted that I will have children later and that I may or may not marry. I accepted that I’ve done a considerable amount of positive things in my life—that I am working towards my goals but sometimes waiting is more productive than moving. I began to loosen the grasp on my expectations in an attempt to grab hold of some sanity. I’m not saying the process was instantaneous but just the thought of working through my hurt and disappointment was a start. Ultimately my goal was to let go of what I thought my life should’ve been in order to enjoy what it was. To me, it was the only way I could face the rest of my work day and most importantly, my life.
I have to reiterate—anxiety is real and debilitating if unmanaged. As we forge through government shut downs and demanding jobs, unmet expectations and unfulfilling relationships, I encourage you to breathe, accept and start the process of letting it all go. Then and only then can we allow the good of the Universe to flow right to us.