Apologies to my readers! As I dive into 2019 with my fearless attitude, work and life have never been busier. But I miss you and our conversations, so I got up early to spend some time with you on this lovely Sunday morning.
Last year, I learned how to not worry. I had been through so much pain and stress that anxiety was my constant companion. I could not get myself out of the feedback loop of “What if?”
What if I lost my job?
What if I didn’t find Mr. Right?
What if I make another mistake?
What if the planet dies?
What if I can’t support my son?
What if I die?
I always had a fatal “what if?” scenario to run to, and it was killing me, thought by thought.
Losing your job in the tech field is an everyday worry. New technology busts onto the scene faster than you can say “Moore’s Law”. But stress doesn’t change that. It keeps you firmly in it’s grips, and won’t allow you to move forward. Fight. Flight. Or freeze.
I fought. I had the same shitty attitude that is rampant out there. Grumbling was our favourite pastime. I took myself out of that loop and tried being grateful for everything I had.
I took flight. I ran away from my problems.
I froze. I was constantly living in the past or the future, never the present. Fear paralyzed me. I exhibited symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder because my life was overlapped in thick layers of stressful situations.
So I did Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to help remove the brick walls I had erected in my head and my heart. In order to do so, I had to face my fears head on and change my thought process, which – let me tell you – isn’t easy for a fiftysomething perfectionist.
Is it a problem today?
- If yes, what do I need to do about it? Break it into manageable chunks.
- If no, then STOP catastrophizing everything into it’s worst-case scenario.
I forced myself to remain present. What does remaining in the present mean? Not looking ahead. Not looking back. It doesn’t mean that I don’t give any time or thought to my future. Nor does it mean I don’t learn from my mistakes. It means I look objectively at the situation in front of me and decide if it’s something I have to deal with immediately or if it I can push it aside. Is it a real threat right now?
I have a bad habit of ruminating over things. Going over them again and again in my head, picking them apart from every angle. I can research this shit out of anything (I am a card-carrying technical geek, after all). I’ve earned my title of FGI (Fierce Google Investigator), following threads of this and that and knitting them into a perfect blanket to hide under. If I have three pieces of seemingly useless information, I can triangulate and zero in on you faster than a cold quantum search algorithm.
All the work I had done on Gratitude began to pay off. I realized that my journey into fearlessness had already began. I embraced change and opened myself up to new experiences and new responsibilites. The one thing that saved me was that I have always accepted change as part of the constant.
This impeccable – Everything Happens For A Reason – timing arrived just as I would need it most. Right before my breast cancer diagnosis. I had no choice but to dig deep and find my strength.
And I flew.