Today was a weird day. It started out with a 2 hour commute into the city (guys, it’s just a little bit of rain) and was followed by a struggle with parking which landed me in a garage that cost me more than I care to admit here. As I circled the streets for parking, I could feel my anxiety level rising. After I had handed over my keys and a small fortune to the parking attendant, I walked out onto the street and started to recognize a vaguely familiar feeling as I struggled to take a breath in. Panic attack.
It’s only happened to me a handful of times and most often in the wake of a very high stress life moment. Most recently, the night after I finally admitted to my husband how truly miserable I was in my last job I woke up in a mad panic at 3AM, unable to breathe. Fun fact of this post: having someone else panic during a panic attack is in fact not super helpful.
This time though, I was able to quickly recognize what was going on and calm myself down but it left me puzzled more than anything. Yeah, traffic blows, but that’s not news to anyone. Why now? It wasn’t until my sounding board friend asked me repeatedly what was bothering me that it finally came out. And to be honest, I wasn’t truly sure until it flowed out with such ease.
I’ve lost control.
And not just of my ability to control traffic patterns or the need to give my first born for a parking spot. Of the big things in my life. My job and my livilhood. My body and my ability to be active. My plan or any semblance of one I once had, and a whole host of other things I won’t get into. And yes, for the love of god, the amount of time I spend in my stupid car.
Truth be told I should have seen this coming a long time ago. But I think part of me was so caught up in the transitions going on and that other hip thing that I’d failed to see my control slipping through my fingers. As I went through my day today in a bit of a fog, I kept coming back to this concept of No Zero Days. I thought about how to move forward and find some positivity in this loss of control.
In my search for a positive spin, I started to think about this past weekend. We attended back to back weddings of two close friends from each of our college circles. One of the perks of starting a relationship at the age of 18 is the obligatory induction into the college group of friends. My husband and I are both very lucky to have held onto a strong crew of college friends that have seen us through everything.
However, one thing I hadn’t taken into consideration when starting this blog was bearing my most honest thoughts to the people I know. It’s one thing to share your less than perfect life with a bunch of strangers who don’t know or have any previous image of you. It’s another to share it with the people who do. This blog wasn’t meant to be a perfect snapshot of life like social media often portrays. My dog is the most guilty of that. This was meant to be real, honest, soul-bearing shit about figuring out how to navigate life and make something good out of the rough around the edges parts in hopes that perhaps a few people could relate along the way. But it’s admittedly a little unnerving to have a conversation with someone who is acutely aware of all your weaknesses, fears and struggles.
The officiant at the first wedding we went to was a friend (if you can call Jake that) and he said something that was uncharacteristically profound. He said that this group of friends is like a family and not just in the cliche way everyone says about their friends. But in the most literal sense of the word. There are actually families within the group – friends who have married other friends, and an entire support system built around them. Ironically, the next wedding we attended was exactly the same. Two friends marrying each other. And it was following closely behind another friend on friend marriage in this same group.
His point reminded me of something that I think serves as my positive spin on today. These are the people who have witnessed the last 10 years of my life. Along the way I’ve been lucky enough to pick up a few more and I’m realizing that the honest truths don’t phase them quite as much as I had feared. They’ve seen the good, the bad, the unfortunate outfits and questionable choices. Despite all that, they’ve stuck around and supported me and I’ve done my best to do the same for them. Because as Dionne Warwick would say, that’s what friends are for. And that’s what family is for.
What is the point of all this? I know, get there in less than 1,000 words please. The point is, control what you can control. Right now I’ve lost control of the asthetic things about my life – my job, my physical body, my future plans. But I haven’t lost control of the things that make me intrinsically me – the people who shape and support me, the family I’ve made for myself, and my ability to write about the things that I can’t control in hopes it may help someone else find some peace.
Sometimes Non Zero Days feel like pretty zero days but those are the ones that force you to find the silver lining. They push you to remember the things that are worth holding onto even when the rest feels like its slipping through your fingers. At the end of the day, if you can find peace in knowing you’ve got people that will always pick you up, regardless of how inappropriate your outfit or how ugly your truths, well then you’re going to be just fine.
P.S. 998 words. Boom.