Tag Archives: panic

The Upsides of Downsides

I suppose it’s emblematic of the human condition that challenges and obstacles suddenly dropped on our path normally elicit the full range of reactions. As creatures of habit and ritual, we prefer to wrap ourselves in a blanket of familiarity and tend to avoid any variables that pose a threat to our safety or survival. I’m sure it’s somehow wired into our DNA, so we have Homo habilis to thank for the butterflies in our belfries.

But maybe there’s a hidden benefit to that knee-jerk panic response that sends the heart rate racing. Our bodies are being primed for evaluation, either internally or externally. We’re forced to take a moment of pause to assess and decide. So it might be wise to embrace those sweaty palms and shaky hands.

Zooming out, this can apply to individual situations or the “life map” as a whole. Rarely do we have the luxury of smooth sailing, and deviations from the game plan are more often a burden to bear and a maze to navigate. Change is a wool sweater on bare skin, and any progress takes some itching. There’s no such thing as painless growth, only growing pains.

Closing a chapter feels much different than writing it. I’m sprinting toward a checkered flag that was years in the making, and some big-picture evaluation has been monopolizing my sleepless nights.

Only time guards the answers. But right now, it’s hard to see if that rapidly approaching line is labeled “start” or “finish.”

Adolescence Interrupted

An Undisturbed Life

undisturbedLately I’ve been running a little cost-benefit analysis. Is the sanctity of an undisturbed life that seeks to iron out potential wrinkles worth the loss of occasional cage rattling, spawning growth inside of chaos?

It’s a quandary I’ve circled for a long time, and I’ve yet to find any definitive evidence pointing me in one particular direction.

Woven into my central fabric is an organized, detailed, contemplative pragmatist who pays close attention to dates and deadlines. That’s undeniable. I take great pleasure aligning my ducks and creating systems to prepare for unexpected speed bumps. I’m rarely blindsided or put in awkward situations, and I relish recording the minutiae of my surroundings.

But, on the occasions when I’ve been rudely ejected from this stainless sanctuary of a comfort zone, I have found that the lessons learned and the connections made have been exponentially rewarding. The experience was never as daunting or painful as I anticipated and I generally emerged from the other side relatively unscathed.

It is an internal battle that has been raging for as long as I care to discuss. My brain doesn’t process life in the same way as the majority of people in this world, so watching the wheels of daily behavior spin in the opposite direction has added significant weight to these already-rounded shoulders.

Ruffled feathers, detonated plans, and unexpected visitors are nerve-inducing, neuroses missiles. When I lived with roommates, I was in a state of perpetual panic, waiting for someone to walk in the door without notice. Living with a significant other was even worse. But, the hours of conversation you never thought you’d have, growing in the spur of the moment, are the treasures born from those pins and needles. There was often a yang waiting for its yin. I just couldn’t pull myself back far enough to see the big picture.

So, I’m sitting at square one, battling instinct and hardwired tendency to allow the possibility and space for the unforeseen. It is a dance I’ve learned to stumble through for most of my adult life, and it doesn’t sound like the music is stopping any time soon.

A tranquil, still pond is a peaceful, beautiful thing. But, every body of water needs a few waves.