If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you may have picked up on a few things about me in terms of my living situation. If not, here’s the short version: In 2008 I left my teaching job, moved home with my parents for what was supposed to be 10 months, and I’ve been here for five years. I’m 30 years old. For five years I’ve been dreaming about having my own place again.
A lot has changed in those five years — my career track and sense of self, for starters.
So it was kind of a big deal this past weekend when I signed a lease on a new apartment.
Cause for celebration, right?
Who’s freaking out? I’m not freaking out.
It’s a strange feeling when the thing that you’ve been waiting for for years finally becomes a reality. Especially when, for a long time, it felt like it would never happen.
So naturally, I started freaking out.
Something else you may have picked up about me from this blog (or from actually knowing me) is that I have a solid history of anxiety. Generalized and social. In the middle of my excitement, all of that anxiety started squeezing my arms and legs, then my shoulders, then my lungs.
Immediately I started second guessing myself. What if this isn’t the right place for me? What if I should stay home in case something happens to someone? What if my family needs me? What if the apartment is too small to hold all of my stuff? I only get one trip in the moving van. If I leave things behind, there’s a good chance my mom will try to get rid of them. If I take it with me and there’s no room for it, then I have to get rid of it. What if I end up in the same position I was in in Virginia when I was living paycheck-to-paycheck and falling behind?
I tried to calm myself by looking at furniture online (I’d like to replace some of my hand-me-downs). All that did was make me start freaking out about whether or not the apartment is going to fit everything.
So I started looking for churches in the area because I’ve been talking to my current pastors about how I’d like to get involved in a church community in my new town. I just had to figure out what my new town was going to be. But again, all I could do was worry about how they all seem to be on a summer service schedule and how no one has Saturday services (I really like Saturday services).
Then that turned into “What if my friends in the area don’t want anything to do with me?” (I recently learned the word “athazagoraphobia” — the fear of being forgotten or ignored by someone you care/cared about. It’s pretty perfect for when I’m in Hyper Anxiety Mode.) This is pretty irrational as they seem to be excited to have me in the area. My brain just needs to chill out a little bit.
My dad’s health has greatly deteriorated since the last time I moved. He can’t help carry heavy things, and he can’t make a lot of trips up and down steps. What if I can’t find people who will help me load and unload the truck? I don’t feel like I can depend on my brother to actually show up (speaking of sources of anxiety). Movers are expensive. (Feeling a little better about this as I’ve recruited some cousins and a friend or two.)
And then I started thinking of all of the things I have to do this summer. And how will all of that be affected by moving?
The list just goes on and on. Most of them begin with “What If?” By the end of it, I need to breathe into a paper bag.
I’m obviously going to miss my family a lot. I’m going to miss my friends here. I’m going to miss my dogs so much. I’m going to miss seeing my nephew every few days.
But for everything I’ll miss, even though I feel a great amount of anxiety, I’m also excited. I’m excited to make new friends (even if social situations are not my forte). I’m excited to spend time with the friends and family I already have who live in the area. I’m excited to be in an area where there’s more to do and to have my family and friends come visit me. I’m excited to explore and see what else is out there. I’ve felt like this before (when I moved from Virginia), and I got through it then.
Life is just beginning again for me, so it’s certainly not the time to chicken out. There’s so much to see and do and I really want to just … live. In my calmer moments, I know that all of the worries and What-Ifs are normal and that I just need to get beyond them. Somehow or another, things will work out.
Anxiety is a bitch, that’s for sure. But I need to focus on doing what I do best: keep busy, work through it, and do what needs to be done. If I can manage that, I should be in good shape.
I don’t usually write a lot of really personal posts like this, so I’m sorry if your reaction is along the “WTF?” lines. Updates here might be kind of sporadic over the next few weeks or so, but hopefully a change of scenery will be good for ye olde blog here, as well.