Why Are You Here?

In bed Sunday morning at quarter to eight I felt anxious that I was late. I had nowhere to go, nothing to do, but the feeling rose in me nonetheless. I closed my eyes tight but darkness made the anxiety stronger. Then I asked it a question:

        Why are you here?

Yeah, I talked to my anxiety. Usually I battle it, push against it, try to tamp it down. I try to stop anxiety, kick it in the knees. What else is there to do with something I fear? These things rarely work but are the habits I've developed. Today I took a different tack. I talked with it the way I want people to talk with me.

        Why are you here?

In case you're worried, my anxiety doesn't reply. There is however a child-like voice in me that said, I don't know. And with that my anxiety began to drain away. It didn't disappear in a flash but I felt it ebbing. Having asked the question, gotten something of an answer, I opened my eyes and felt ready to get out of bed. I had writing to do.

When In Doubt, Run

This afternoon I got stuck. I had been doing paperwork and paying bills. My job starts again tomorrow and I don't like working there. The temperature and humidity are way up. The anxiety of not knowing what to do chewed on me.

Then I went for a run.

I haven't run in a few days. I've been too tired, anxious, and hot. I'm tired today, kind of anxious, and pretty hot, but, without thinking, I went upstairs, changed into running shorts, strapped on my running sandals and watch, went out, and jogged down the street.

Those who don't run won't believe this, but my fatigue, anxiety, and discomfort were gone within a hundred yards. I hadn't solved the underlying problems, but they just didn't matter as I focused on the rhythms of my steps and breathing.

Back home now, it's hot enough that I'm dripping in sweat even after a shower, but most of my anxiety is gone and I'm full of vim and vigor. I still have to go to my job tomorrow. I can run but not hide from that.

Running is my thing. My daughter swims. My other daughter sings and dances. My wife walks. Do what you love to do, especially when you're anxious and thinking that you just can't. I say this knowing all the times I've felt that I couldn't follow that advice. I'm saying it as much for my benefit as yours. I need to be reminded.

When in doubt, run.