By Samantha Stroube-Daviss
Corsicana Daily Sun
I am typically not an anxious person. Yes I like to get things done, rather than leave loose ends; that may make me a little anxious. I admit I work better under pressure while juggling nine activities on my plate; but sometimes that makes me a little anxious. That anxiety is more a question of “how am I going to get this all done in a timely manner,” rather than the anxiety of “oh my goodness I have a lot to do.”
I have so many goals that I want to obtain in life — personally and professionally — and aspirations I have for myself from a long time ago. I try to take them one project at a time, but when I start thinking about them collectively, I become extremely anxious.
I may sound like a real head case. But really, I am pretty good about taking things in stride, and trying to balance life, and living life in the “now.” But I do have so much that I want to accomplish, I try to remind myself that I am only one person, and I need to take a deep breath and slow down.
I recently had the weirdest feeling of anxiety come over me that I don’t think I have ever experienced before, and I was incredibly disappointed in myself for allowing it to happen. But it happened for good reason—and that reason is because I am a mom.
I very rarely leave without my phone, which I hate because I am one of those people that doesn’t like to have a GPS tracking system on me. I don’t always want to be able to be reached on a minute-to-minute basis, but as a busy mom, I need to be able to know that my babies are safe or may need me at any minute.
Right now seems to be a very hectic time in our family’s lives. We have a lot of changes happening, all good. I am making some career growths, we moved out of our house and are building a new one, and all the boys are in one activity or another. Our wheels are in constant motion, so to speak. Therefore, I feel like I am on call 24/7.
That day, I had a meeting to attend, and for some strange reason I left the office without my phone. Once I realized it was not on my person it was too late to go back and get it and still make it to my meeting on time. After my meeting I climbed in my car to check texts, emails, voicemails, the usual — but it wasn’t there. I felt like I was in a tail spin, not knowing everything was operating smoothly in my life. I hated that that feeling of apprehension came over my body. I actually had to slow my breathing.
I swore to myself I would never become one of those people that is so dependent on my phone that I will lose my mind if I don’t have it on me. But I don’t think it was the fact that I didn’t have my phone, it was the fact that I couldn’t dial in (so to speak) to know that my world was OK. After forcing myself to take a deep breath, I realized that this was probably the best sign and gift I have been given in a while — the allowance that it’s OK that I am free from responsibility for a few minutes, that I am free from accountability to everyone around me. I am just able to sit in my car and take a deep breath.
Then I started thinking back to when I was growing up. There were no cell phones, there was no email, and there was no social media. I could get in my car and drive for hours and no one knew where I was, and even though I didn’t realize it then, I am completely aware of how liberating that feeling was — how I envied my younger self for having existed in those times. They were simpler times — times when we didn’t have to worry about answering an email immediately or we would lose a business deal, times when leaving a message on someone’s phone was OK, and they may return our call that evening when they got home to their answering machine. Or, it may be the next day before they got to it.
But you know what? We survived.
So I’ve decided to take the pressure off of myself and allow myself a little breathing room, remove some of the anxiety from my life, and force myself to accept the fact that I don’t have to answer every call, every text, or every email. It’s OK to live in the now, without having Big Brother watching my every move.
Samantha Stroube-Daviss is a Daily Sun columnist. Her column appears on Thursdays. She may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read her blog at Samantha-daviss.blogspot.com. Follow her on Twitter @samanthadaviss1