At the end of every day
There is only this:
And letting go.
This has been my greatest lesson so far as a budding adult and also as someone who is often very anxiety prone. I’ve found that my balance and stability come from reminding myself on a constant basis that all of these feelings, these thoughts, these challenges, and these moments of uncertainty are ephemeral. They may seem like they will last forever, but the bigger picture is that they won’t. So instead of fighting against what is happening, I learn to make peace with it and go with the flow of what life hands me.
My current post-graduation experience has probably been the best example of this. Like many others in my graduate program at The New School, I received my degree with excitement and set out into the world eager to make my mark. However, as I settled into my new post-grad routine, I realized that things do not always work out as seamlessly as we plan for them to. While my head and heart were ready to blaze full speed ahead, I was greeted instead with stagnancy, which in many ways is one of my biggest fears. Stillness is not something that comes easily to me, but here I was anyway having to learn how to navigate this new pace of life.
So I made a decision. I could be sad and allow my anxiety about what would or wouldn’t happen swallow me whole…or I could just breath through each day, pray, and do my best to put in the work needed to manifest what I wanted. I chose the latter, and it has been the best decision I could have made. Thinking positively towards my situation no matter what and just doing the work has given me comfort and clarity. I understand that everything happens in its perfect timing and that anything that doesn’t come to me organically was never mine to begin with. So, I let it go.
Living in the present moment has been my greatest teacher, but it’s not without effort. As I mentioned before, anxiety can often be a default setting for me. However, the things the help me out the most when I am getting too caught up in my head are:
Taking a step back. When I was in undergrad, I took a drawing class where we had to sit up close to our easels everyday and freehand shapes that were placed in front of us. Every now and again the professor would make us stand up and walk a few steps backwards to look at what we had been creating from a distance. Many times it wasn’t until we stood up and looked at our drawings from a new perspective, that we realized that we had been going about it the wrong way, or that we were doing better than we thought. By zooming out, we were able to look at the full picture more objectively.
What are the facts of the matter? So much about anxiety is wrapped up in the future tense. The possibility of something happening, or not. So, when I feel myself getting anxious, I start asking myself grounding questions to understand what it is that’s really causing me to feel that way. Once I understand the root cause of my anxiety, I can work towards making myself feel more supported.
Gratitude for a better attitude. Take whatever happens in stride, and try to move forward as gracefully as you can. Remaining grateful no matter what is fruitful in the long run and helps to maintain a positive outlook.
Be kind to yourself. Meet yourself wherever you are everyday and just do your best. Everyday might not be how you want it to be, but there are still things to find joy in.