Hello positivity seekers,
Sitting down at my laptop to write a post has been a challenging task for me this week. I started this blog as a documentation of my journey to supplement my life with positivity and happiness – not realizing how difficult this can be on the hard days.
One of my goals for 2017 was to stop hesitating.
Hesitation has always been a cornerstone of my experience with anxiety. When I was younger (and even today), I wouldn’t try certain things that I really, really wanted to do because I couldn’t get passed ‘thinking mode.’ I had an intolerance of uncertainty and a detrimental fear of regret – essentially, I would avoid doing something until I was 100% sure that I wouldn’t regret it later.
The thing about anxious people is that most of them can articulate the irrationality of their thoughts and worries. But even so, it feels impossible to get past them or to do something in spite of them. For me, not doing something, or avoiding it all together, always seemed like a safer option in the long run.
A few days ago, a good friend of mine called and told me that my previous manager who I had worked for throughout college had passed away.
I’ve been feeling a thousand different emotions since I got that call.
I had worked for him at a fine-dining restaurant for three and a half years while I was in college. A friend I worked with described him as “work dad” – which he totally was. He was always cracking dad jokes, poking fun at everyone, and lightening the mood. But he would also regularly check in to see how everyone was doing. More than once, he sent me home with bags of groceries because he knew I hardly had any at home. I would sit in his office long after my shifts ended to talk about my life, hardships I was struggling through, and my dreams for post-grad life.
Life got busy after I moved south when I worked at a sleep-away camp and immediately launched into grad school in the fall. I kept thinking about sending “work dad” an email or calling to check in but I kept hesitating, telling myself he more than likely didn’t have the time to read it or that he probably didn’t care that much.
One day after I told my sister that I was going to send that email, he was gone.
If I could change anything today, I would have sent that email. Ignored those anxious thoughts, ran away from the “what ifs,” and just hit send. I would’ve stopped hesitating.
Because regret is much harder to live with than the safety of not doing something.
Yes, I have regrets. Lots of “should have’s” and “could have’s” running through my mind the last few days – “I should’ve called him,” “I should’ve gone to visit last fall when I had more time” – and I’ve learned the hard way what hesitating can cost me. While getting out of a regretful place can be challenging, it’s possible. We can’t change the past, and we can’t undo what’s been done. But we can learn. We can grow. And then, we can move forward.
My advice to you all is to stop, stop, stop hesitating. Go out and do the thing! Send that email! Text that friend! Go to that new workout class! I read a quote once that talked about how most people regret the things they haven’t done more than the things they have.
I think they’re onto something.
And if you didn’t do the thing and you’re stuck in that low, shitty, regretful place, don’t unpack and stay there. Learn from it. Grow from it. Move forward.
And most importantly, see the good – even on the hard days. If you don’t see it the first time you look, look again. I promise it’s always there.