After being so busy last week, I had really been looking forward to the weekend, especially Sunday, my only full day off. Not that teaching my yoga class feels much like work. I just have to wake up early for it. I noticed, however, that my day off yesterday wasn’t really much better than the previous days I spent working. I still wake up reluctantly, feeling groggy and stiff, whether it’s at 6AM or at 9AM. I still feel overwhelmed by inexplicable stress for large periods of the day whether I am at home or at work. I may actually feel less stressed on the days I’m at work, because there is so much going on to occupy my mind. There is a weird inner pressure to enjoy myself when I have free time that inevitably ruins it.
Yet even after realizing these things for what seems like the umpteenth time, I still found myself dreading having to come into work today. I’m still longing to be at home, even though I’m basically doing the same things alone in my office that I would be doing in my house. And in a few hours when I’m back home, I’m going to find something new to be anxious about. I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that no matter what is going on in my life, there is always something. I don’t know why I feel the need to explain my anxiety, to find a culprit to blame. Clearly it wouldn’t be a disorder if there was a legitimate reason for me to be feeling anxious. I’m trying to accept that no matter what I decide the cause is in that moment, ultimately there is no cause. I’m not anxious about anything. I’m just anxious. Always.
While this may seem disheartening, reminding myself of this is actually helpful. I don’t need to keep torturing myself more by wishing things were different. I don’t need to be upset because I have to come to work tomorrow. I would feel just as anxious if I didn’t. I’d just be blaming it on something else instead. Knowing this allows me to shift my focus away from whatever “reason” I’ve assigned to my anxiety. Brooding over that never helps anyway. There is almost always nothing I could do to change whatever it is anyway. All that assigning blame does is convince me that because the circumstances are what they are, I therefore have to be anxious. I tell myself that as soon as this happens or that happens or once I reach some perfect moment in the future, THEN I’ll finally be able to calm down and enjoy myself.
I’ve come to realize that time never comes. There is always something for me to feel anxious about. Because really there is nothing for me to feel anxious about. So if I have to go to work, I’ll blame that. But if I get to stay home, I’ll just claim it’s because of something more ridiculous. Sometimes I’ll worry about some distant event in the future. I’ll think: Should I start applying to teaching jobs? If I don’t my eligibility will run out and I’ll have to renew it. But maybe I don’t want to switch jobs. I really like where I am now. But schools have better benefits. What’s more important? Or I’ll start thinking about something totally insignificant: I need to call my friend later. I call her every Sunday. What’s the best time? What will I say? I don’t have anything to talk about. I don’t have time. She won’t want to talk to me. I’m boring.
No matter what, I’m going to find something to be anxious about. And you know what? It’s okay to feel anxious. I can feel anxious and still have a nice day. I can feel anxious and still be productive. I can feel anxious and keep going anyway. I don’t need to feel sorry for myself and wish that things were different somehow. That time I’ve been waiting for can be now. I can be happy right now. I can be anxious and still be happy. Everything is as it should be.