Anticipation is something I know everyone deals with but for me it’s one of the most unbearable feelings I go through. It’s as if I revert back to being 6 and am totally unable to sit still or have normal emotions before say something like… my birthday party. I can distinctively remember the fact that before my birthday I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t sit still, I threw little fits about things, I couldn’t control my emotions (I’d be happy then sad then bored etc…) I’d also give myself stomach aches so on top of all the waiting I couldn’t eat either. Well… add 20 years and nothing really has changed. I’m still that girl, except for maybe the fact that I’ve learned to hide my feelings a tiny bit better.
What am I anticipating you might add? Well 2 big things to be exact- one of them being the fact that in 61 days my husband, Seth is graduating with is BFA! The second is that in 75 days we are going on a long over due vacation to Ireland/Scotland. To say that I’m excited is basically the understatement of the year. I’m thrilled and literally cannot focus or sit still already and I still have a few weeks to get through.
Today I was thinking about my lack of focus and internal anxiety about these events and just wanted to understand anticipation a little bit more. Anticipation can be one of life’s better feelings or in a practical since I feel like it should be—I mean if you think about it most* of the time when you are anticipating something, that something is a good thing, a great thing, a goal you are waiting to accomplish etc…so if anticipation normally is such a good thing why then is it so distracting to my everyday life? Is this just my personality? Am I daydreaming about it too much? Am I putting expectation where it shouldn’t be? Why am I looking forward to these things so much that… I find it hard to get through my day in a productive manner?
I realized that for me anticipation is the thought or belief that some one thing is the beginning of expected relief. — which is both good and bad. It’s good to have things that keep us going and things we look forward to like vacations, times with friends/family. I believe that things like that are stepping stones to get us moving forward-we have to have timelines and goals for what we want. I also think it’s a bad thing because… I personally am striving to create a life that I don’t have to escape from. So, I realized today that goal of mine hasn’t taken root yet, and I’m not living a life I don’t need a ‘break’ from.
And that’s okay. It’s okay for today because that’s what it is. I can’t change that over night but I think becoming aware of the root of my anticipation has opened my perspective a little bit more-and I really needed that. I have to understand the foundation of things before I can take actions to move forward and today was a lovely reminder of how interesting and comforting it can feel to ask yourself questions and then find your own answers. Realizing that my lack of focus wasn’t entirely due to my anticipation was a relief. I can now think about these upcoming events as much as I want and just be plain excited. I can also, realize where I may be lacking in some focus/discipline and just plain work ethic is also something I can work on. I plan to work on this by being present each day, allotting myself a certain part of my day for planning my future and apart from that being committed to the moment.
One of the things I’ve learned and have been trying to work on recently is treating each day/moment as a gift and in that doing the best I can do to have the attitude needed in whatever situation I’m presented with. For me worrying about past, present, future things can be t o t a l l y draining and leave me feeling dead.
So here are some of my actions steps that help me stay present and I know I will definitely need to work on for the next 61-75 days!
- Focus on my breath: I tend to be a super shallow breather when I get overwhelmed so I try to make sure I’m breathing deeply throughout the day especially before doing things I don’t necessarily like, like responding to 72 e-mail. I also practice mindful breathing before meals and try to always do 3 solid breaths before eating.
- Reminders: I personally love quotes so at my office at work, on my phone and at home I have little reminders that help bring me back to the present moment. Sometimes other people like to put reminders in their phone or wear a piece of jewelry that reminds them to be present.
- Be aware of your senses: one of the best things I’ve ever learned with dealing with anxiety is this; what do you see, what do you hear, what do you feel. In moments where I feel like TOTALLY overwhelmed/anxious I do this. Those moments where my breathing gets very fast I feel hot, my mind is racing, I want to cry- yeah those times. By realizing your surroundings it brings you back to the now and it’s honestly a little crazy how everything just calms down after that.
- Do 1 thing at a time: I am not good at this one but I’m trying. For instance sometimes I head over to the gym for my lunch break and on the way back I find myself like walking as fast as possible, I have to remind myself that ‘right now I’m walking to just walk’ I also remind myself when I’m doing something tedious like filing paperwork. I personally need the reminder that it’s okay for me to be doing just 1 thing, to take my time. My mind almost always is trying to race to the next thing and the reminder to slow down feels like a gift sometimes.
Cheers friends and good luck with this week.