And by the fear of nothing, I sure as hell don’t mean fearless. I mean the fear of precisely and unexplainably absolutely nothing.
This fear is otherwise known as anxiety.
Anxiety is relatively new in my life. I think it has always been hidden there in my incessant need to avoid certain people and small talk on several days of my life, and my veiled fear of failing. Not so much being scared of failing for myself, but more concerned about what everyone else would think if I did fail.
However, in the past year and a half or so, it’s been growing into something more substantial – something that has been allowed to take hold of my brain and steer it in directions I’ve never before gone in or wanted to see or experience. I’m sure it was a combination of things that spurred this – college graduation and introduction to “adult life,” leaving the first company I started and feeling as if I’d failed in some way even though I knew it was right, moving back to my hometown where I didn’t want to see any faces – new or old, having a somewhat serious relationship end in the midst of all of this, etc etc etc.
I’d wake up in the morning and instantly have awful thoughts about myself and the world around me and would cry at the thought of having to go into it – or for that matter, having to do anything at all. I became scared of nothing, but I was constantly scared. All the while, I was avidly trying to maintain the confident and carefree face I’d shown everyone for years.
When I decided to travel, it was for numerous reasons. On a public level, it was the right time to do it because I didn’t know what else to do with my life and I’ve always had a need to explore. On a personal level, it was because I needed to get out of the comfort zone to combat this monster taking over my brain.
I’ve been jumping around from Alaska to South America to Canada since October, and next week, I will be going home to make some dough for the summer. Can I say I beat this monster? I don’t know, but I sure learned some things about it and how to shut it up now and again.
I learned how to use the switch in my brain to turn off the bad thoughts. I learned how to take good energy and focus it on the people I love in my life and send it to them through the airwaves. I learned how to live outside the starch mold of our “reality” for awhile and that I find it much more worry-free than living within it. And I re-learned how fucking wonderful true spontaneity feels.
But there’s more I’m searching for. I’m still on a mission to get my passion and drive back that went missing somewhere along the line, but there’s no direct way to find it. I just have to do and learn until something makes some sort of sense. I used to think life was all about the big realizations and revelations that shape your existence, but sometimes it’s more about the path to those. Not every decision can be a great epiphany from the gut or heart, but you just have to do what you can until you work your way to something just as important.
And sometimes, there will be days like today. Days where for no reason, the shitty thoughts get the best of you after you’ve warded them off for months and all you can accomplish for awhile is a good cry.
But, it will get better. You will feel good again, you will learn and grow, you will have days filled with extreme joy and wanderlust. The bad days don’t have to win.