A Road Trip With Anxiety

All day long I traveled with a familiar companion named Anxiety. No amount of head knowledge today could quite do the trick to shake the heavy feeling. It accompanied me to meetings, it crept in on lunch, and it made itself known as I sat down to write.

The difference between this day and the many proceeding it, is the wisdom and tools that I now carry. I have learned to acknowledge anxiety when it comes around. It refuses to be ignored, and that’s fine. But you see, I’ve decided to stop allowing Anxiety to drive. It is never invited, but some days I can’t keep it out the car. On those days, I simply tell it that if it insists on sitting in the front seat, it must do so silently. It doesn’t have access to the road map and it’s not allowed to touch the radio. No, it doesn’t get any input as to where we go.

There are several others that I would have rather had sitting in the front seat today. Joy, Laughter, Excitement just to name a few. But alas, it was Anxiety that sat next to me. Other emotions may have taken a slight backseat, but they too were invited on the trip and their input was welcomed and encouraged. I’m learning that Anxiety’s presence on the road-trip does not have to keep Joy, Laughter, or Excitement from joining the conversation. 

Joy spoke up from the backseat during my meeting this morning. I was surrounded by incredible men and women, seeing several pieces of a project come together in the coolest way. I thanked God for the umpteenth time that I work for such an incredible organization getting to do work that matters. Anxiety was there, but Joy got to do the talking.

Laughter erupted from the backseat sitting at lunch with my team. We shared stories and welcomed our new teammate. I felt known and seen and accepted. Laughter can bring such a feeling of belonging. I sat at the restaurant with a feeling of gratefulness bubbling below the surface as I giggled and conversed with some of my favorites. Anxiety was there, but Laughter repeatedly burst into the conversation.

Excitement settled in as I sat down at this table to write. The blank page and blinking cursor extended an invitation that I knew I couldn’t leave unanswered. Best laid plans fell through and I eagerly decided to fill the time with something that replenishes my soul. Anxiety is here, the punk, but Excitement directs my fingers on the keyboard.

Today, I didn’t want Anxiety to tag along on the trip, but I didn’t let it keep me from taking part in the journey. Sometimes, despite my best efforts I can’t thwart the presence of Anxiety. Instead of letting it consume me, I’m learning to give myself the grace to acknowledge that it’s in the car with me and choose to partake on the journey anyway. It is the not voice that I am tuning my ear to.

I’m learning that the best way to adventure is simply to do it anyway. I’m saying yes to new, yes to hard things, yes to doing it afraid. I have places to go. 

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