Friday, May 16, 2008

Crazy Me

It's only 12 days until I leave for Dubai. I've been waiting 2+ years for this trip, so you'd think I'd be ecstatic. Alas, I'm not. I know, weird right? I've been planning for and dreaming about this trip for so many days and hours. Now that it's nearly here, I'm getting anxious.

For the past few years, I've been trying to better understand the person I am. Of course, a little therapy or work with a life coach would probably assist the situation, but being a poor college student doesn't allot for much spare change. Deep introspection has brought to me the realization that I live a lot of my life in the future. I'm constantly working through my life thinking about the next great adventure. A constant mantra running through my head is, "When X happens, I'll feel Y."

It's all too easy for me to fall into the trap of missing out on the here and now while I anticipate the future. I truly believe in chasing ones dreams, it's what's brought me most of the amazing experiences I've had. I'm afraid, however, that too much dream-chasing has caused me to miss out on many of the little things. Sometimes I catch myself in the act of thinking about tomorrow when I'm living out the moment I stayed up thinking about the night before. For whatever reason, I'm still working that part out, it's really hard for me to stay present. I try and work on it day after day, but I still struggle.

This is the great paradox of my life at the moment. I'm fairly content with the life I'm leading, yet I can't seem to shake the thought that tomorrow will be better than today. I want so desperately to appreciate each second of my life. But is that even possible? I'm afraid it would be mentally and emotionally draining trying to be 100% present at all times. At this point, however, I'd love to live at least 50% of my day in the present. There is a big part of me that believes the world would look differently if I were living fully in the present. The moments when I do live in the moment-- those when I'm with kids-- really are incredible. My senses feel heightened, along with my ability to empathize and my patience. I want that feeling more often.

Spending my life in the future is especially stressful during transitional times, like now. When a big change in my life happens, I worry about how different things will be. I may not have appreciated each moment, but I hang tight to them when they're about to be taken away from me. It seems so contradictory to me, which is where I become confused and my soul searching focuses. This inability to appreciate the now, yet unwillingness to let it go when the then is approaching makes little sense to me.

Here's how it's playing out now:

Wake up in the morning to the clock radio tuned to NPR's Morning Edition. Quickly turn the alarm off before Evan rolls over. Take a bleary-eyed shower, blow-dry my hair, and dress. Eat breakfast while watching the Today Show. Stand in the doorway of the bedroom and whisper goodbye to Evan as I rush off to babysit/tutor. Spend the day babysitting/tutoring and running around completing various last-minute errands. Run/hike. Cook and eat dinner with Evan. Argue with Evan about not having enough quality time and the layer of filth around our apartment. Check e-mails and browse endless blogs/websites while listening to Evan play WoW with his gamer friends. Watch the Daily Show with Evan and pester him about holding the remote. Bed-time routine, read. Rinse. Wash. Repeat.

Throughout much of the day I'm anticipating the trip. When I'm at the bank picking up quarters to pay for my laundry, I'm thinking about what it'll be like washing my clothes in Africa. When I'm dropping off donations at the SPCA, I'm thinking about the women and children I'll meet. When I'm cooking dinner, I'm thinking about African food. Thoughts and excitement about this trip are a constant white noise in my mind.

Now that I'm only 12 days out, however, the anxiety has set in. Since about Monday, I've had a constant pit in my stomach. The white noise is still there, but now it's twinged with more fear than happiness. I'm starting to worry about leaving. Who's going to help Evan move all of the boxes out of the apartment? What will I do if I get sick? How will I get in touch with Evan if he doesn't answer his phone or e-mail? What if I don't like the food. Will my turtles die? It seems so stupid to worry and stress about such things when a life-time dream is about to come true. At times I feel outright embarrassed that I'm becoming so anxious. I have the opportunity of a lifetime approaching me and I'm worried about my turtles?

This is where the learning takes place, right? I have to have the courage to push through the anxiety and fear in order to appreciate this great gift I've been given. I'm trying to keep those butterflies in check and to remember why this trip is so important to me. Listening to Evan talking to his gamer friends as I type this makes it hard to see the sun shine through the clouds. That voice chanting "DPS. I need you to DPS in here," that voice that drives me crazy most nights, I'm going to miss that voice. I'm going to carry that voice in my heart for 2 1/2 months, to remind me to appreciate the here and now, no matter how crazy it makes me feel at the moment. 'Cause when those crazy moments are taken from me, I'll miss them the most.


LifeTrek Coaching said...

Beautiful, Michelle. The journey you are on speaks to your courage and love. Just being aware of the conversation in your head is enough to bring you more fully into the present. Notice it. Let it go. Move on. We love you.