There are five people in my kitchen right now preparing snacks for Game of Thrones in an hour, two others sitting in my living room and one more on my balcony who I don’t know breaking up with her boyfriend (“he treats me like shit, and he’s a dick…” fair enough) Normally that would give me anxiety, in the past whenever I was at a party, or around people I would get really quiet, and sit in the corner, holding my drink close, intermittently taking sips, soaking in the conversations around me. Not today, these people that are ruining the cleanliness of my kitchen are my team, and I love being around them. But its not only because I know them that I’m not anxious, but there are also a few things that have led to it.
Thinking positive – Not negative
I actually consider myself an optimist, but I’m an “optimist” in the sense that I’m an idealist — and this makes me a critic. I have a rich inner picture of how I think things should be or, in the least, could be better, and my knee-jerk reaction is to cull everything around me in a continual loop of deductive reasoning and elimination — “ no… no… no… not good enough… not that… not yet.” In the end, most of what I was critical of, was not only good enough, but great, and I certainly wasn’t doing anything to make much better.
Being Self Aware
Enough to know when something is right for you.
You have to be able to discern when something is right. You have to be ready to step up to bat for your life right now — not later when it’s convenient or ideal. You have to take opportunities as they arise, not some “someday” timeframe, and you have to trust yourself enough so that you can go with them.
I’m not talking about physical activity (exercise has worked out rather well for me) I’m talking about taking the initiative, doing things right now. Stop waiting, whenever I wanted to do something, I’d get this anxiety about what I should do, get all worked up, which led me to do things I shouldn’t have because I was worried about it. Get it done and stop talking about it.
Be Committed – in Time and Space
Heidi Priebe wrote,
“You have to commit yourself entirely. You can’t love people half way. You can’t leave important business unfinished. You can’t deliberately half-ass your job or your relationship or any other area of your life because you feel more comfortable when you have one foot out the door. You have to decide what you’re in for and then go all the way with it. You have to realize the freedom and possibility that exists within commitment.”
Live your life inside it, in the room in which you are rather than wandering around out back or upstairs or wherever you tend to drift off to. Sit with yourself. Sit in the room. Be there in time and space — in mind as well as the body.
Be braver than you feel
Achievement doesn’t come with ease or comfort.
“You have to be willing to size up uncomfortable situations, recognize that you’re going to feel a bit out of your league while engaging in them, and then make the conscious choice to engage in them anyway. You have to learn to disconnect from that part of yourself that tells you, ‘No, stop, retreat.’ You have to barrel on despite it. You have to act in a way that is in conscious and deliberate defiance of your fears.”
And being able to do that is really about developing the confidence that comes from cycling through steps enough times that it feels more natural over time.
A good life is from seeing it as a series of constructive — not reductive — thoughts. It’s about being self-aware enough to know what we want. It’s about taking action, every day, to get there. And it’s about doing all of this even though we’re scared, trusting that there’s good shit on the other side.
Get a Team…
My teams in the house right now, growing up I had spent time with around 15 guys (made everyone in our neighborhood nervous whenever we all stood at a park on the corner) most days conversation was about the sporting event of the time. How many goals did Alexander Mogilny score for the Buffalo Sabres, how many points did Michael Jordan score… needless to say, I wasn’t getting much out of that situation. I never watched any game they often spoke about, these days I’m surrounded by my friends I made hiking the trails close by, and through hanging out we go and do a Lamp Lighter tasting, or have dinner together, we hike together, we talk about the tough days, we introduce each other to other friends, we call each other to see how the day went. They’re encouraging, they’re smart, funny, and always up for a good conversation. We spent the afternoon, having a picnic lunch at a local park, dancing, and laughing, and it’s not always about GREAT times, it’s just having them there that’s been just the best a person can ask for.
Lastly… Be realistic
I do get anxious occasionally still, I do have bad days, but I have a lot more good ones these days. Often times I look back on those bad days and wonder if I learned anything from it, and I have to say that I do, so were they that bad to begin with? Just know that these days will come, the family will stress you out, relationships will be strained, friends will come and go, but tomorrow can and if you allow being better then today. My friends know my past, they know my anxieties, they know if I’m having a moment, and I know when they’re in the same position. We’ve had difficult conversations, but we know tomorrows got real possibilities of being great!
I’d love to continue but Game of Thrones is coming on soon…