I once had a yoga instructor remind us to “work with who we are.”
Well, I am an anxious person. I don’t want to be, but experience and now thisarticle tell me it’s probably just a part of my physiology.
Luckily, I’m upbeat and optimistic, so I can usually work with nervous feelings pretty well. However, age 27 was a rough one for me. I started grad school (which involved moving away from Kevin), and, to put it succinctly, it overwhelmed me. I had what you might call a quarter life crisis. I flipped out for a few months and seriously considered quitting school (and doing a PhD at the school where I am is something I had wanted for ages). I could go into details about the teary phone calls, about waking up sick to my stomach thinking about statistics homework, about running home to my parents’ house once a week just to feel comfortable somewhere, and about wasting a hundred evenings I could have been doing something fun with my sister because I was too stressed or too homesick to do anything but curl up on the couch and watch TV, but that’s not really the point.
You always hear that you learn the most from the hardest times, and I have so found that to be true this past year. Among many, many other things, I learned (confirmed) that change is hard for me and that I’ll tend to react nervously to new situations. More importantly, I learned that there are ways to control how I feel, and that being content, that taking care of myself, has got to be my number one goal. It’s more important than getting good grades or impressing my advisor or even finishing graduate school.
And now, after reading the NY Times article I linked to above, I’m learning how these tendencies aren’t always a bad thing. Being the way I am means I get my stuff done, that I stay safe, and that I might even react quicker to a dangerous situation than most people. I’m probably never going to be a carefree person. But I can certainly be happy and use the gifts and challenges I’ve been born with to contribute something unique to the world.