Everyday Anxiety

Fanny and Lulu didn’t want to come out of the barn this morning. So they ate in.

(It’s 3 pm and we just got our power and internet back)

Jon was already awake.  “The power went out again last night,” he said, “but it’s back on now.” It made no difference to me, I slept through it. 

Since I went to bed last night I’d been planning my day. Yesterday I didn’t get into my studio at all.  The power and Internet were out for the whole morning.  By the time it came back on there was still so much to do around the farm as the snow and wind picked up. 

My plan was to finish sewing together Ellen’s quilt, take pictures of my latest batch of Cool Cat Potholders and post them in my Etsy Shop.  In between, I’d blog and I’d get everything done before it was time to leave for Bellydancing. 

But when I looked out the window and saw the two-foot pile of snow that fell off the roof overnight., I felt a pang of anxiety. The belief that  I never have enough time to do everything I need to is an old source of anxiety for me.  I’ve never been able to figure out where it originated, but I know it well. 

The snow from the roof was heavy and packed.  I used my shovel to cut it into blocks then scooped each one up and tossed it over the side of the porch.  The sheep and donkeys were at the gate braying and baaing.  They’d been holed up in the barn all day and night and weren’t happy about it.   I cleared just enough to get down the steps and left the rest for later. 

But when I got to the gate it was frozen and as I walked back to the house to get some hot water to defrost it,  Jon was standing on the back porch with only a pair of shoes on.  “The power is out again,” he said and there’s no estimate of when it’s coming back on.”

Suddenly my anxiety was gone. This changed everything, I no longer had control over my day the way I thought I did a moment ago.  

I made myself stop for a moment and slow down.  There’s no hurry I told myself, I will get done what I can and it will have to be enough. 

I got one of the reserve cans of gas from the barn (Jon had filled up three the last time we had a storm) and filled up the generator.  Then, I switched on the battery, pressed the start button, and flipped the breaker switch. I pulled the lever down on the box on the house that switches our electricity source from the grid to the generator.  

When I  went into the house to make sure it was working and saw the light on in the kitchen I felt like a superhero.  “You want power,” I said to Jon.  “You got power!”

Later, as I mucked out the barn, I thought about that old joke about making God laugh by having plans.  I’d always known the truth behind that joke intellectually, but it wasn’t until the pandemic, when uncertainty became the norm, that I learned how to make those quick shifts between what I’d planned to do and what was possible without getting upset about it. 

So I wonder how it makes sense that I’m less anxious now, sitting in the living room, with the generator roaring outside, writing this blog post on Apple Pages to be cut and pasted onto my blog once the internet comes back on.  

I think it has to do with giving up control.  In understanding that I can control how I react or behave in a situation, but can’t control the situation itself.   

Now I just have to figure out how to bring this idea into my everyday life and maybe then, I’ll be about to deal with that anxiety a bit better. 

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