Disclaimer: I wrote this while having a cold--the kind that makes you really loopy. That's probably the time when I shouldn't be writing, but I did it anyway. So, if none of this makes sense, it's not entirely my fault (or maybe it is). What I mean to say is, if it doesn't make sense, just please smile and nod and politely allow me the space to be a little loopy. That's probably enough of a disclaimer, yes? Okay, I'll get on with it then.
I have a thing for transitions. Musical transitions, that is, on albums. You know those magical moments when one song seamlessly fades into the next one? Or, if you're listening to a playlist, you hear a song that perfectly follows the previous song; it's like they were meant to be together. Some favorites:
- The World at Large to Float on by Modest Mouse on Good News for People Who Love Bad News
- Tiny Vessels to Transatlanticism by Death Cab for Cutie on Transatlanticism
- Love Like a Sunset, Pt. 1 to Love Like a Sunset, Pt. 2 by Phoenix on Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
I could go on, but that's not really what this blog post is about. 2015 was a year of transitions for me. Not the musical kind. The real life kind. There was a lot that changed and, like musical transitions, I naively hoped that they would all be seamless. I hoped that, maybe if I planned well, I wouldn't feel the bludgeoning impact of all the change. But that's not how real life works. The change always gets to you. It's not seamless. It's not perfect. It shakes you out of your normal state and causes you to feel on edge.
Last year, I moved twice. First, the giant leap from one state to another (okay, it was only one state over, but it felt like a giant leap). The second move was another giant leap in its own way, from living on my own to moving in with my boyfriend. I wanted it all to be seamless. I wanted it all to be easy but, of course, it wasn't. And, of course, when my unreasonably high expectations weren't met, my anxiety spiked.
While there was so much to be thankful for this past year that made the transitions easier (wonderful friends willing to reach out and lend helping hands), there was still a lot that stressed me out and triggered some severe panic attacks. I don't understand it. Why is it that when I have everything that I need, and when I'm fully supported, I still feel so anxious? Besides the fact that my brain is broken, and doesn't process anxiety-triggering situations well, there are two reasons that might have something to do with it.
First, I always have expectations that are too high. I want a perfect plan; I want to know exactly how things are going to change and when/how it's all going to happen. But, at the same time, I catastrophize and fear that the worst will happen; that everything will be chaos and all my plans will be ruined. As a result, I get stuck in this weird in-between head space: perfectionism with an equal does of catastrophizing. Neither are on the spectrum of reality, so either way my brain can't win; either way, I'm full of anxiety.
I want to be able to accept reality: that transitions are usually neither perfect nor catastrophic. I want to get to that point where I can roll with the changes...where they don't completely stress me out. I want to enjoy the "here and now" but it's difficult. I've had this anxiety looming over me all year. Every day, I feel restless. Every day, I feel anxious. I'm not in that place where I feel settled yet. Instead, I'm just waiting. I'm waiting to feel at home. I'm waiting to feel at peace.
For now, I'll let Modest Mouse play us out. And we'll all float on okay.