An Anxious Person on the Path to Slowing Down


“Idleness is fatal only to the mediocre.” ― Albert Camus

All who know me know that I seriously love listening to podcasts. On days when I find that I don't have any new episodes of the podcasts that I'm already subscribed to, I go down the browsing rabbit hole. Last night I ended up downloading the TED Radio Hour Episode: Slowing Down, which really got me thinking. I mean, I'm the sort of girl who over commits, wears herself out, and suddenly doesn't understand why she can't bring herself to be creative. Well, when your iCalendar is filled with overlapping colorful squares, you'd think it would be pretty self-explanatory.

In the past month I made two promises to myself: 1)to say "no" more often and 2)to apologize less. So far I would say that it's going, though now, I have enough awareness of the word "sorry" coming out of my mouth that it almost makes me cringe; it reminds me of the time in high school when I made it a point to rid myself of saying "like" after every third word. Needless to say, it's a work in progress, but having the awareness counts as a victory, and on Friday I said no making plans (without coming up with some outlandish excuse). The life that I've chosen to pursue requires that I make sacrifices, particularly as it pertains to time, how much I have to myself and how much needs to be spent working on things other than my craft. Yes, I want to be social, but no, I don't need to see friends every night when I'm done with work. The universe has blessed me with extraordinary people in my life, but I also need to make time for myself, whether that be to reflect or just veg out (something I'm admittedly not good at doing).

Deciding to slow down has led to in awareness of those things that I've been depriving myself of. That is to say, the time I dedicate to my art and the time that I allow for my brain to recharge has been pretty minimal. There was also something else that came to light, and that's that I haven't put much energy into bridging who I am with who I want to be. Getting caught up in the static of the hustle and bustle means only having rare and fleeting moments for self-reflection, which honestly is much easier than setting that time aside because it can be really damn scary.

So who am I? Well I am someone who cares very much for others, who loves the art of story telling, who over-commits and then panics, anxiety prone, coffee lover, with a bottomless well of wanderlust. Most of these aren't "bad," but I feel like something has been missing, and I think it lies in not having the self-confidence to embrace that I already have everything that I need to accomplish what I want to accomplish. Setbacks are situations that can still stop me right in my tracks, but I want to be the person who more often than not looks at those setbacks as challenges to overcome.

So who do I want to be? I want to be the sort of person who more often than not confronts problems head on, one who proudly stands by her art, the kind of gal who says "no" without regret or the need for an excuse, I want to follow my heart vs. following this idea of what I think that I should be doing. The things I just listed is why I'm opting to slow down, it's why I made those two resolutions. We are always a work in progress, but this year is about putting myself and my needs first, which also means standing up, even when there might be push back.

Writing this has been entirely cathartic, because now it isn't just a promise that I've made with myself, it's a promise that I've made public. Plus, as I write this I'm starting to brainstorm on where I want to take this year's solocation. I think that I know where I want to go, just gotta start hunting down a place on AirBnB and make it official.

xx

-Ren

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