Turning neuroses into new approaches
I have always been a pretty intense person, and I have always tended to go full-throttle at any problem. I am that delightful type who evangelically pursues every new lifestyle, trend, or practical solution. This can be a blessing, because I learn a lot in each new exploration, but it is also a curse. I can be a perfectionist about each new thing, and if I don’t do it perfectly, I throw in the towel. Watching myself move through many different life paths, I am finally seeing that my perfectionism has caused me to miss out on some great opportunities for self-expression. There is a false belief silver bullets hidden behind this tendency. I believe that if I just find that perfect answer, be it a religion, a diet, a political party, an exercise plan, or an art form (in which we are naturally and effortlessly gifted and never ever need to practice), we will be relieved of all of our daily troubles and worries.
This may be a folly of youth, as well. When we are young, we don’t have as many tools to cope with stress, and (if we are lucky) we are sheltered from stress by our caregivers. Maybe that is what all those grown-ups mean when they say that growing up sucks! Forever young? Please?
I think the late 20s/early 30s are all about learning to cope with the world as it is, not the idealized world we were shown as kids. I’m sure that being in this stage of life at the beginning of a Trump administration is adding to the stress. We are coping with the end of a forward-thinking, progressive administration (though Obama was no saint), and we’re coping with the conservative backlash at a time when we are looking ahead. For those of us planning to have families, the despair is even greater. Will I be raising a child in a fascist nation? Will the resistance be powerful enough to overcome a Trump administration? Is there hope for future generations? Is it even worthwhile to give a shit, or are we seeing the end of the world as we know it?
The questions are endless, and the truth is, we only have control over our part. As painful as it is to not know, it is reality. We move forward in our lives through the uncertainty, doing our best to find a middle path. Part of that middle path is not being swayed by every new trend, every new lifestyle, but tapping into what makes us truly happy and doing it. For me, that has meant more writing, more walking, more classical music, more geekery, and more quiet time in nature.
The child in us wants an immediate answer because, as we say in preschool, waiting is not easy! But guess what: even if it’s not easy, we can slow down. We can wait, so just do our best to cope in with the shitstorm that is life while we wait for the answers to unfold.I’m not sure where my life will lead, and I’m grateful to know I don’t have to answer all these questions today. I can pause, look at some trees, and just do my best to move forward every day. Thank goodness I get a little older every day.