Tuesday, December 13, 2016

On Anxiety, Chia Pets, and Entering the Last Year of My Twenties

Last year on my birthday, I was not in a great place. The fall season had been difficult for a variety of reasons and I'd found myself in a pit of despair and self-pity, partnered with anxiety and depression. In looking back over some old drafts this week, I discovered an unpublished post that I'd written during this time and was shocked by the stark differences between then and now:

It's nearly midnight on the day of my birthday and I'm feeling very sorry for myself.

That is quite possibly the most pathetic sentence I have ever typed.

It is not so much that I am upset about getting older or my metabolism slowing down or the wrinkles that are ever so slowly making an appearance on my forehead. (Although those things are certainly a cause for concern.) It is more the fact that right now, at this moment, I'm feeling tired and overwhelmed and really quite sad. I'm cracking under the pressure and I don't know how I'm going to go on.

That certainly paints a bleak picture. 


When I was a senior in high school, my friends and I skipped school and took the South Shore train to Chicago for a day of shopping and cheesecake. While we were riding the train back home,  I made everyone tell me a list of small (somewhat silly) goals they wanted to accomplish before they turned 30. Last year, while going through old papers, I found this list:

1) Learn to tango.

2) Read the Anne of Green Gables series. 

3) Ride in a limo. 

4) Learn to snowboard.

5) Own a Chia Pet. 

Thirty seemed so far away at 18. 

Last year, Kyle bought me a Chia Pet for my birthday. It's one of the most thoughtful gifts I've ever received, but at a time when anxiety was controlling my life, it also seemed like one of the most loaded. The pressure I felt was tangible, a rock sitting heavily on my chest. It was just a simple Chia Pet, but to my anxiety-laden brain, it was a representation of all the things I had never accomplished, never would, and my inevitable mortality. (Pretty intense, huh?) The idea of taking on this HUGE responsibility of owning a Chia Pet just seemed like too much to handle.

It's crazy what anxiety will make you believe. 

Like so many of the things in my life that I wouldn't (or couldn't) deal with, I put this Chia Pet in a box. I hid it away; out of sight, out of mind. 


I'm so grateful that this has been a year of self-care. While many wonderful things have happened, in so many ways the future appears scary and uncertain. But as I enter the final year of my twenties, I have to cling to the good.

In looking  back over my list, I realized something. While I haven't accomplished anything 18-year-old Molly had wanted to do, I still have plenty of time to do so. And just because I haven't accomplished anything on that list, doesn't mean that I haven't done some pretty amazing things that 18-year-old Molly never would have dreamed possible. 

So now, as I sit here writing this with exactly 10 months left in my twenties, it's time get that Chia Pet out of its box, spread the seeds, and wait for it to grow. 

I vow to spend these next 10 months doing the same. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you're in a better place this year. The future is always uncertain, and sometimes scary, but also can be exciting, fulfilling, and wonderful.