I took five days off work this week. It's amazing how many of the "have to"s of life have gone away this week. I don't have to get up at 5:05 a.m. I don't have to drive home in afternoon traffic. I don't have to make a list of have tos and check each one off one by one.
I guess I've never really noticed how much anxiety every obligation creates. I've tried to notice this week when a knot of anxiety bubbles up. One did yesterday. I was waiting for my sister so we could go to lunch. She was ten minutes late. I started worrying, did she forget? What are we going to talk about? What if she doesn't like the restaurant I chose? I sat there on my bed, waiting, worrying.
Then I said to myself, why are you even worrying about this? Like I was talking to a small child I told myself to take ten deep breaths and get a glass of water. I don't have to do this. If my sister never arrives I could sit on my bed all day and no one would care. If she arrives two hours late, we'll go to lunch two hours late. Not like I'm on a schedule today. Something inside me let go and the worry floated away.
I checked my text messages. From my sister: "Of course I'm running late but I'll be there soon. :-) sorry, I suck."
I started playing a puzzle game on my iPod Touch. I hardly ever play games anymore. I think they can be a waste of time. Usually I have other stuff I deem more important. But not this week. I sat there and played it and enjoyed it. My sister came by at 1:30, we had a nice lunch then watched TV reruns (another thing I usually consider a time-waster but allowed myself to do this week).
I suppose this week just makes me question what are the things I really do need to do, that are worth some anxiety, and what are the things that I stress about when I shouldn't. Maybe there is a pathway out of anxiety somewhere in this week.