I wonder what it’s like to be fearless and unafraid of the world.
All my life I’ve been afraid. Of bugs, clowns, and particularly strangers. And now I get to be afraid of catching coronavirus too.
Do you know what happens when you take a person who’s afraid of the world and throw in a pandemic on top of it?
I’ll tell you.
And I know that I am far from alone.
Could it be that my fear of getting close to strangers was merely a premonition for what’s happening today? Let’s say yes.
You see, my brain has been trying to keep me safe all these years.
It hasn’t been too difficult working from home for a month. In fact, there was a period of about 15 days when I didn’t leave the house at all. I was even a bit proud of my streak.
And now we’re going back to work. Well, I’ve been working my tail off these last thirty days. What I really mean is that we’re going back to the office. Where there’s people.
And I’m really uncertain about it. In my life, uncertainty breeds anxiety.
This is the part where I really do wish I was a lot more optimistic.
I wish I didn’t worry about touching the restroom door knob or sitting around a conference table with my team. But I do.
I see other people not worrying about it and that makes me wonder what’s wrong with me. Stupid brain.
And it seems like very few people are listening to those raising red flags and issuing cautions and warnings about “returning to normal.” My brain tells me those overly optimistic people who act like the pandemic is over are the ones who will get us all sick.
What’s a girl to do about all this?
I guess I’ll keep avoiding people. That shouldn’t be too hard for someone who’s afraid of people.
I guess I’ll wash my hands at every opportunity.
I guess I’ll have a talk with my brain and tell it, “Thanks for keeping me safe. I know you’re doing your best. Thank you for taking care of my health and well-being. We’re going to get through this. I promise.”
For now, I’ll keep being afraid and I’ll keep showing up. Anxiety doesn’t keep me from doing what I want to do. It’s just there. Melodramatic background noise.
When I keep moving, the anxiety quiets.
I can use my fear and anxiety as a very good reason to stay home and do nothing.
Or, I can remember that anxiety is just an emotion created by thoughts. When I turn my thoughts away from the things that make me anxious, I can get on with my day and get stuff done.
I’ve also noticed that my anxiety diminishes on the days I exercise in the morning.
Action beats anxiety. Remember that.