Home / Mini Things / On Being Really Freaked Out
My Anxiety is Not the Boss of Me

Anonymous postcard submitted to PostSecret and my new philosophy.

I confess:  I have some very conflicting emotions about starting this project. On the one hand, I’m super excited to give myself the chance to accomplish goals I’ve had since I was young. If I manage to complete everything on The List, what an amazing decade I will have had! I’ll have so many stories to tell and new skills to use; I will certainly be a richer person for the experience.

On the other hand, I’m so anxious about failing. Not necessarily about not doing every single thing on the list, but more about not doing any of them. What if, after a decade, I can’t cross off a single thing? I’ll add 30 regrets to an already long list.

What if I do them but can’t manage to blog about it? I’d be letting myself down there, too. When I was a teenager, I really wanted to be a journalist that traveled the world. I thought I’d to go to college and major in journalism, then get a job with Rolling Stone (yes, my favorite magazine at the time) and jetset with rock bands or write political hit pieces ala Matt Tiabbi. That was pre-blogging era, of course – now pretty much anyone with an internet connection can be a reporter. Committing to this blog would fulfill that goal in a small way, even though I won’t be paid for it. I genuinely  want to do it, but I’m anxious about my ability to keep it up.

I’m also feeling a little overwhelmed by the commitment. I’m bad at making commitments because life is so uncertain and I can always think of a worst case scenario. Especially in the long-term – when I think ten years ahead, I feel like I can’t count on anything. What if I lose my job? What if my boyfriend and I break up? What if my mom becomes disabled or passes away? What if what if what if…

This is the burden of having an anxiety disorder – I am always consumed by what ifs, paralyzed by them. But I don’t want to be like that, I hate it. It prevents me from living in and enjoying the moment. Maybe committing to this list and saying ‘screw the what ifs’ is one step toward breaking that cycle. I’m going to embrace being freaked out.