Friday, February 19, 2010

Anxiety and Gratitude

I don't like being in a lull, a slow period, feeling dull and unmotivated. Beyond being down with a cold that continues to linger, I feel generally unmotivated and a bit anxious. Part of it has to do with having a finish line almost in sight but refusing to stand still. I plan. I like to be IN CONTROL. And this shifting end-point makes me feel a bit crazy. So far, no antidote has worked very well. I'm forcing myself to accomplish small things, but finding no spark of motivation in checking off items on my list. My creativity feels dried up and cracked like a set of kid's watercolors unused for too long. My patience runs out before the day does. I feel just a bit off-center, out of kilter, unbalanced.

So I'm going to try a Friday exercise - and see where it takes me. Naming my anxieties and fears paralyzes me. I don't want them out there for the world to see. I don't want someone to look at them and say - "silly, why in the world are you worried about that?" But putting them down in writing helps put them in perspective somehow. So (with some fear and trembling) here I go:

1. Getting my hours in by the deadline to graduate in this quarter
2. Juggling my schedule to try to get those hours in
3. Upsetting my family because of my schedule juggling in the next 6 weeks - including evening meetings and rearranging the start time of my daughter's birthday party
4. Disappointing friends because I'm not spending enough time with them
5. Leaving my kids for 9 days at the end of May
6. Spending money on a trip that is a stretch for me in a lot of ways
7. Graduating - because then I have to DO something
8. Neglecting my family in order to follow my dream
9. Spending money to follow that dream
10. Doing it all without dropping any of the balls

Wow. Okay - by the time I got to 7 or 8 on that list - it hit me. My concerns are all about time and money and the way I choose to allocate them. I feel guilty using either one just for me. Something to chew on here I think.

But the other half of this game is gratitude - possibly an antidote to my recent malaise - and definitely deserving equal air time.

Things I am grateful for:

1. A husband that has unfailing supported me in rewriting my life over the last 3 years. Grad school isn't an easy undertaking, and he has never wavered in his support, going above and beyond to make it possible for me.
2. Professors that believed in me and sometimes saw in me things that I couldn't see in myself.
3. Jeanie - a mentor who has walked me every step of the way, holding my tears, celebrating my successes.
4. Tess - my analyst and the wisest woman I know.
5. Finding my creative outlet in words.
6. Friends who stick by me through thick and thin and who don't keep track of how many times I have to postpone or reschedule.
7. A husband who loves to travel and is adventurous enough to say "let's do it"
8. Two beautiful daughters that bring light and laughter into my life.
9. Wide open possibilities in front of me in the next few years.
10. Enough.

And that last one is what I have to keep in mind. It is enough. I am enough. There is enough to go around. Even when it feels like things are a little out of control. I think that is my mantra for the day. Enough!


  1. Every time you overcome your fear to step into the largeness of your life, you make the world a better place for all of us. Isn't it interesting how changing your focus from your fears to all of those gifts, most of which come with huge challenge, changes the way you feel? It's an honor to walk through life with you.

  2. Me, too! It's an honor to trudge these steps with you. Okay, I'm trudging; you're walking. Quite nicely, I might add. Hee, hee, hee...xo

  3. @Elissa - I don't feel like I'm walking. It definitely feels more like trudging. Slowly. Sometimes through quicksand. But I have to trust I'm making progress even on the days it feels like I'm standing still.

  4. You could have specified those friends by name, you know? :-)

  5. Which ones, the ones I'm disappointing or the ones who stick by me? Either way - you know who you are.