All week, and maybe for a little bit longer, I’ve felt kind of “off”, in a number of different ways, all of which are unfamiliar to me; discombobulated, forgetful, and über-sensitive (as if I weren’t sensitive enough already), to name just a few.
Yesterday I searched high and low for my makeup bag. I couldn’t find it in my apartment or my car and finally decided I must have left it at work. Today I received a message from a neighbor saying that she had found the makeup bag and my wallet of gift cards in the laundry room. I don’t even remember being in the laundry room yesterday.
My apartment is a mess; I haven’t washed my dishes in a week, and as for doing laundry, let’s not even talk about it. Most of the items for my trip are in a big, disorganized pile in the middle of the floor.
|How this table usually looks|
|How it looks today|
Yesterday when my friend Lisa arrived at my place for an 8-mile training hike, I realized that I wasn’t ready to go but I couldn’t think through what I needed to do to get ready; I ran around the apartment like a chicken with its head cut off. At one point just prior to leaving, it occurred to me that my right foot felt strangely lower in the shoe than my left foot. When I removed the shoes to resolve the issue, I discovered that I had returned only one insert to my hiking shoes (I like to air them out between hikes); the other one was lying on the ottoman (as an aside, I sure do like saying, “ottoman”).
For those of you who know me well, this is a surprising state of affairs. My preference is for everything to be in its proper place, or at least out of view, and I like to have everything ready to go when I’m getting together with someone. I’m all about schedules and structure and order.
So this doesn’t feel good. And I was beginning to feel worried.
But then it hit me. In one month, I leave on the journey of a lifetime.
One month from today, I will don a bright purple 36-liter backpack weighing approximately 15 pounds and for six weeks live out of that pack. In one month, I will begin walking approximately 15 miles a day for 40+ days. In one month, my life will literally become completely focused on putting one foot in front of the other. All day. Every day. Rain or shine.
One month from today, I will step outside my safe little box.
Despite my extensive travels, I have never done anything remotely like this.
And then it occurs to me that there have been many times in my life when, “I have never done anything remotely like this.” And it occurs to me that me that these feelings I’ve been feeling for the past week are not so unfamiliar because I have experienced them prior to every big trip I’ve ever taken. And finally, it occurs to me that this may very well be what is referred to as anx·i·e·ty:
a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
And then I feel better because I know what this is. And that it will pass.
Note: Somehow, in the process of typing this post, I was able to muster up the energy to take care of some of the things I was writing about; I did a load of laundry, cleaned the extra bedroom, emptied the dishwasher (and filled it right back up again), and vacuumed. It never ceases to amaze me how acknowledging what I’m feeling, naming what I am feeling, and finally, accepting what I’m feeling helps to shift the feeling. Even via a blog.
|Cleaning and finally, clean at last|
Main photo credit: Nervous? by Freddie Peña