Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop
Today, I was sitting at my kitchen counter on a sales call, surrounded by my bank statement, jury summons, and bills. While the salesperson kindly discussed the "on-boarding" process for the program I'd just joined, I couldn't help but think, "Why wasn't there an on-boarding process for becoming an adult?"
Since graduating college, I feel like I have lived in a constant state of panic. Maybe not full blown hysteria, but I definitely feel like the quiet whisper of "ohmygoshwhatnow" has taken up residence in my daily thoughts. It's like I blinked, and the weight of responsibility hit me full force.
I understand that a solid portion of my panic is correlated with my career path of entrepreneurship. Taking responsibility for my own finances, insurance needs, payroll, and beyond adds a healthy level of stress to anyone's plate. But honestly, I think it's more than that. I used to read the words of other post-grads who lamented "adulting" and think, "That won't be me." After all, I'm organized. I'm responsible. Isn't this what I went to school for??
I'll never forget the first time I had a design meeting with a potential contractor when I was in the process of building-out my studio. I tried to maintain my professional composure as he went on and on about build out standards and sound proofing options and drop ceilings, etc. I could literally feel my throat closing up as I attempted to sound remotely intelligent. It was the same feeling when I received my first tax packet in the mail a couple of years ago. I remember calling my dad and sobbing, "How was I supposed to know how to do this?!"
The older I get, the more I notice myself waiting for the other shoe to drop. I live with the shortest fuse on my emotions. My internal pep-talk sounds something like, "Okay, yes, we've got this. We're handling it....unless _____ happens. Then we're screwed." The funny thing is, those things I'm so afraid of usually don't happen, and sometimes they do. Sometimes, my husband's car breaks down at a really inopportune time, or we receive a bill that we totally overlooked.
It's pretty easy to find the negative when you're always looking for it.
After a few years of operating this way, I've decided that I'm pretty tired of it. I'm tired of waking up and choosing worry every day instead of choosing trust. Being an adult definitely means more responsibility, and I'm sure that each new phase of life will add more and more to my plate.
The load isn't going to get lighter, so I have to change the way I'm carrying it.
If you feel overwhelmed by your circumstances, you're definitely not alone. I think we need more reminders that it's normal to feel out of control because we are out of control of the majority of things that happen in our lives. So, as Joanna Gaines put it in her book The Magnolia Story, I'm going to choose to thrive instead of simply survive. That's become my motto for the year, and I think it's going to be a good thing.
“It was such a blessing to find myself thriving in the middle of the pain. Unless you find a way to do that, there's always going to be this fake illusion that once you get there--wherever "there" is for you--you'll be happy. But that's just not life. If you can't find happiness in the ugliness, you're not going to find it in beauty, either.”
― Joanna Gaines, The Magnolia Story