Where did the anxiety come from?

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, October 2, 2018, 11:06 PM | comments: 0

When I hear music from late 2013, I associate it with extraordinary energy, hope and a sense of calm that I haven't had for very long periods in my life. In fact, I would say that started to fade a bit after two years, and now I find myself anxious much of the time. It's really obvious to me now, as this week I'm enjoying a "staycation" for a week, after going at it for 14 weeks straight in the new gig.

Naturally, I first make assumptions that it's related to work, but I don't think that's it. Sure, the scope of my responsibilities in this job are a new high for me, but I was feeling this anxiety at my last gig too, and the scope of that job was arguably much smaller than the job before, and definitely smaller than what I had in my contract gig in 2013. In fact, you would think that the 2013 gig would have caused more anxiety, since I didn't know what I would be doing after six (then 12) months. I had no idea what I'd be doing, and had a house I had to buy. So I don't think that the anxiety is rooted in work. The one caveat here is that I thought my last gig would last for years, and the idea that one person other than myself ultimately had control of that situation is troubling. I'm not sure how I get over that.

It could be financial, I suppose. The four month delay on selling the house when the first buyer fell through, along with two months and change of involuntary non-work, was definitely not a comfortable situation, and having to replace both cars and being under contract to install solar really stretched everything way too thin. I won't be fully recovered from that until the end of the year, when I can finally recast the loan on the house, almost a year after I had intended to. I don't know how I went a decade and a half of my college/adult life living with debt, because now even the prospect of doing so makes me queasy.

Parenting definitely causes anxiety. It's hard to imagine, but getting Simon in the right place academically and socially, given the challenges around ASD and ADHD, really have their best shot in the next four years. That's a lot of pressure, and I feel like I might be making him miserable when I just want him to be prepared for the difficult teenage years. I want him to feel understood, and socially capable.

It could also be age. We're headed for mid-life, and that comes with some realizations. We know people who get cancer and have heart attacks now. It's scary. It's weird to even talk about it out loud. We have suboptimal lipid panels come back and need biopsies and get weird things on our skin. That all is even more weird in part because we have a young child, where our peers would have one quite literally graduating from high school now. I don't fear death in the sense that I accept and understand it as the ultimate outcome of my life, but I sure as hell don't want it to affect my child in his youth or my wife in our prime (or vice versa).

Maybe the bigger stressor is that I find myself not capable of living in the moment. I feel like I'm always looking forward to something, usually that next travel opportunity. That's no good, because I don't want to miss what's happening right in front of me.

This too shall pass, I'm sure, but for now, I don't have answers yet.

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