Do you know what the worst part of getting advice from another person is? The worst part is that no one else is exactly like you and so, no one else can tell you exactly what to do in a way that satisfies your deepest and most serious unmet need. This is partially because you can’t articulate what your deepest and most serious unmet need is to begin with and partially because advice about deep and serious unmet needs tends to be more general in nature, like a guideline rather than a rule. And guidelines are open for interpretation and demand analysis and your brain really can’t analyze one more single, solitary nugget of information. This is because you have already explored each and every scenario and the six resulting consequences of action or alternatively inaction and the result is that you are so perplexed that you’ve made yourself unwell and could really use an outside opinion right now. Which brings us back to the worst thing which is when you are getting advice from another person.
You is me, in this scenario, but you already knew that.
All of this is to say I have been an incredibly needy friend lately and my people are doing their best and just getting no where with me. And bless them for hearing me day in and day out and really hearing me, too, not just listening and nodding politely, but poking around in the muck with me and trying to buff out some of the rusty bits. In spite of their best efforts though, no one can give me what I really want which is a plan for what to do, right this second, this very moment in my life, where all of my choices have converged and I’m living in the now, attempting my very best to figure out what’s next.
I really believe that life happens in seasons and the great thing about a season is that it goes as surely as it comes. And in this season, I am trying to start my career in a new town and that’s a bit tough because no one knows me and what an asset I can be and who am I kidding I’m completely freaked out and feeling like a reject loser right now and “a bit tough” is the understatement of a lifetime just ask my husband who lives with me. Job searching is basically the Vulnerability Olympics. The stakes seem so high and panic feels too real and mostly, I have entirely too much time alone with my thoughts.
I have this conviction that in six months, I’m going to look back and say, “I wish I’d had a better attitude about that whole thing because it really would have been so much easier to manage . . .” but I can’t. Anxiety is like a smoke that moves closer to your chest every time you inhale. It creeps under the gaps of your doors and through the cracks in your windows and there aren’t enough lunch dates or bottles of wine or long baths with face masks to distract me from it forever. I mean, no one has that much personal power. I actually spend most of my day feeling guilty. Guilty that I feel badly or alternatively that I feel badly but not so terribly that I’m motivated to do anything. And have you ever actually felt bad and wanted to do thing that will make you feel better? If yes, let me assure you, there are deeper levels of feeling bad you’ve yet to reach.
Erstwhile, I am growing increasingly discontent and emotionally unstable and closer to drinking wine before noon. I feel like a top at the end of its spin, more wobbly with every turn. Soon, I think I’ll tip over and only a great, omnipotent hand will be able to set me to rights, spinning with purpose. I sense this season is nearing its natural end, but that’s the stickiness with anxiety and worry. It’s always asking, “Yes, but what if not?” It is disorienting to mistrust the voice in your own head. So I constantly seek external reassurance, asking everyone if it will be okay for me. And the answer is always “yes, yes you’ll be fine.” But that’s the thing about getting advice from another person, isn’t it?