Anxiety, Control, & Learning to Let the Future Happen

Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.
— Khalil Gibran

I had a bit of an anxiety attack/freak out last weekend. It was the first time since leaving my doctoral program that I had a really profound sense of fear about what my life is going to look like moving forward.

But this morning when I thought about it I realized something. It's really easy when we're in school to know where we're going and what we're moving toward. Undergrad, grad school, etc. - there are all these nifty little benchmarks along the way, and it makes it really easy to know what your next step is. 

For the first time in my life I don't have that. And for someone who is obsessed with the plan and the next step and certainty...well to put it bluntly it freaks me the fuck out. I don't like it. It makes me anxious.

I have been more free and happy these last few months than I have in years. But lately the realization that I have 5 months until I move home, that I have all of these options that I should really narrow down into "what I want"...well it's causing this little planner to freak the hell out. With options come choices and for someone who is terrified of choosing wrong, well it's a pretty insane mental game. And it's taking it's toll on me.

I want to know what's going to happen next. What my future looks like and what is going to make me happy long term so I can start working for that. I WANT CONTROL. And I'm fully aware that this desire is what is driving me crazy. But there are somethings I can't control and I'm realizing that. I can only take steps forward and make good choices and see what happens. It's all we can ever do. And trust me, I more than anyone get how maddening that process can be. But that doesn't mean it's any less true.