I have been feeling a lot more anxious than usual lately. It’s a combination of ‘stuff’, but I’m pretty certain this is mostly down to one specific thing:
In less than a week I leave the place I have worked for almost ten years.
Yep. Hello Freelancing and Goodbye Regular Salary. I know this is absolutely the right thing for me. The timing could not be better. It is something that I know I want. I feel so much clearer about things than I ever have. And yet…
I am Terrified.
From day to day the pendulum swings as to which of these two emotions I feel the most. There are moments of euphoria then usually, at the least convenient of times, including during class, there are tears. But one bonus of crying in a Hot Yoga class is I sweat so much that I guess no-one’s going to notice apart from me
I’m also at that certain point in my life when people wonder why I haven’t settled down with a husband and kids yet. But strangely, I feel far younger and far happier now than I did ten or so years ago when I was always the first in and last out at the office and striving so, so hard to progress. To be perfect. I put so much of my identity and self-worth into what I did for a living to the point where I lost myself for a while, then couldn’t work out why I felt so miserable all the time. I became disillusioned and deeply cynical. Not my natural state.
I am really grateful that I get to practise yoga. For me it is a huge gift that I do not take for granted in the slightest. I truly believe that this has helped to give me a better perspective. At least now I notice if any old negative anxiety patterns are beginning to creep in (like mindless eating – “Where did that whole bag of almonds just go??”) instead of blindly going into self-destruct mode. I feel that through my practice I have gained awareness, enabling me to observe my behaviour, change it accordingly and be kinder to myself, even when I do slip up from time to time.
I know this is a life-defining phase for me. Not because of leaving my job or the age I happen to be when this set of circumstances has arisen, but because of how I feel about it. It’s a gut-feeling and, to date, my gut has never been wrong. At every significant point in my life so far I have felt like this. I’ve never known how to describe it without sounding all ‘woo-woo’ but I came across a post on zen habits (via @samdavidson) about ‘Joyfear’. For me this sums up what I’ve been feeling so well. Here Leo Babauta writes that every single defining moment of his life has been filled with Joyfear:
“Having only joy is great. Having only fear sucks. But having both … that’s life-defining.
Do not shy away from Joyfear. Seek it out. Recognize it when you happen upon it. Joyfear will change your life, and you’ll never forget the moment you find it.”
I know this is big change. I am pretty sure it will delight me and test me and frighten the hell out of me. I know I am probably going to have to ‘Woman Up’ in order to find the courage I feel I will need at times. But somehow, I think it will be okay.
Bring on the Joyfear.
(Thanks to @zen_habits and @samdavidson for highlighting Leo Babauta’s ‘Joyfear’ post)