Do everything you can
8:00 Saturday morning, the first day of Spring Break and my anxiety is through the roof.
Not sure about you, but there are just too many things to be anxious about these days from COVID to War to tennis coaching to preparing the SONOMAWOOD sign to painting a mural outside my art room with the Monarch Project to finding a new job next year to relaunching my kids, and I don’t even want to get into the negative biopsy results or the muscle I pulled kicking a soccer ball in PE class. Anxious yet? Me too.
Anxiety can be your friend. It helps you get things done but it can also kill if you let it. Want to know the secret to thriving in this time of chaos?
Here’s how educational superstar Brene Brown explains it, “Our anxiety often leads to one of two coping mechanisms: worry or avoidance. Unfortunately, neither of these coping strategies is very effective.”
I have a simple solution (shocking, right?). Do everything you can and let go of the rest.
Nothing to do about COVID except to continue to ride it out and celebrate little victories like no more masks in the classroom and declining transmission data. Can you do anything about new variants and a surge in China, no, continue to pay attention but let the last two years go.
Obsessed about the war and the bully who is at the center of it? Nothing much we can do there except to unify around the innocent and hope that the Russian people realize what is really happening and that the aspirations of their leader are not worth killing people over. I have to believe that when human beings know the truth about killing other human beings they will choose not to.
War is bad, period, and I can’t wait for the time when we think of it like cigarettes (makes you poor and kills you). The next generation gets this and, if we don’t exterminate ourselves first, they will end war as we know it.
However, the Ukranian people need support and whether you send money or paint a giant sign for the Sonoma International Film Festival blue and yellow in solidarity, every bit helps. Keep doing what you can and maybe when this is over we will realize, finally, how much better we are together.
And the personal stuff? That’s a simple fix, make some plans, meditate, work hard, connect, and above all stay healthy.
A week later and things are looking better, the sign is done and almost ready for installation on Tuesday (Total cost: $1053.00, Ukranian solidarity: Priceless) The mural wall is gessoed and ready for the Monarch Project to grid out the design on Sunday, my daughter confirmed her move in date in April for her apartment in Portland, and my wife and I managed to get away for a couple of days in the mountains so Spring Break was not a total wash.
And do I really need a new job for next year? This was my personal revelation during COVID, that I’m doing too much and maybe if I focused on one lane instead of driving maniacally across all four lanes, I might have less anxiety. But I know me and I know I get bored in one lane and so, well, maybe I should let that one go too. Although, building the sign has re-inspired my vocational school aspirations if only I had the time to write up a proposal.
Will anxiety ever go away? No, sadly, there will always be crisis and bullies and responsibilities and things which keep us up at night but with the right strategy you can tame the beast and maybe even use the beast to help you move forward.
Again, from Brene Brown, “both our anxiety and our fear need to be understood and respected, perhaps even befriended. We need to pull up a chair and sit with them, understand why they are showing up and ask ourselves what there is to learn.”
Do everything you can and let go of the rest.