It’s been dreary since my mood changed. If you’re in the general Northeast, you know this week’s weather isn’t something to cheer over unless you’re into wet BBQ’s and binging TV (don’t worry, I binge watched a season of The Office this weekend… maybe two).
For the most part, this Summer has been entirely full of life—so much, in fact, that I had to fend off a panic attack mid-Spring because I booked something five days of every week this Summer. While exciting, I was scared I overloaded my plate. I never plan that much and my favorite memories are often sporadic trips with no itinerary until I’m in the car.
It was that fear that made me dread the sunshine season and it wasn’t fair for me to lack enthusiasm for what looked like an incredible and privileged Summer on paper. I define myself as an outgoing introvert, which I know will surprise many who know me, but I think that’s where the “outgoing” part comes in.
I had once been riddled with well-concealed social anxiety. At times it returns like black ice on a shoveled sidewalk—unexpected and terrifying, until your feet find traction and you balance yourself again. But for the most part, I don’t get as overwhelmed as many people I know with social anxiety do. I’m very thankful for that, but it didn’t mean my Summer schedule didn’t scare the living bejesus out of me. So I did what I could and lived every day as its own infinity.
Some of my friends think I’m crazy for being on the go so much and I don’t blame them; this past weekend held the first few days I had nothing planned. It gave me time to rethink my ability to take on tasks, both the fun and not-so-fun ones.
This leads me to how I think about my Summer thus far, and it’s been… incredible.
After learning that it’s better to let go of things that don’t make me happy, I promised myself to take everything day by day. To me, this means waking up without the stresses of yesterday or anxiety of tomorrow. Of course it’s easy to say that and harder to follow, but if you can make it one day without worrying over something out of your control, you can make it two days. Then three… then a week, a month—hell, maybe even a whole season. Sure, you might slip on that ice, but you can get back up, I promise.
I learned that this fear over a schedule of things that ultimately made me so happy was ridiculous. I accept that that doesn’t mean I won’t deny future anxieties, or stresses, but I know living past them is entirely possible.
If you’ve read this far, you might be wondering why I’ve written about such a dull topic. You could’ve picked up any self-help book and gotten better advice than something coming from me, nor do I think anyone came here for advice. I write as I think, and I’m realizing I’ve been using this topic as an analogy.
There’s a deeper conversation to tackle here (here, meaning in my head). It’s about fear, and taking things on one day at a time, and most of all, change and accepting things I can’t change. It’s why the weather reflects my mood, not the other way around.
As I walked through Philly and sat by the Delaware River yesterday, I saw how beautiful this weather is. I saw how it didn’t affect people making the best of their weekend; how smiles were still smiles, kids still laughed, and those lunatics still jet-skied in that very polluted river (I’m still cringing over this). Like the weather, my mood isn’t bad—it’s just different. And I know I’ll tackle the real topic soon enough, but dealing with bits and pieces of it every day is okay for now.
Many risks, events, and actions are worthy of stress or anxiety because they often involve the things most important to us. This Summer I learned that if you don’t work around these and face fears, you’ll look back on a life full of worry. I learned I’d rather slip a thousand times than regret the opportunity to slip in the first place. Who knew there was so much ice in the Summer?