Miller and I made it home from our trip to Connecticut. He’s flown about a gajillion times, but it’s the first time we’ve flown together just the two of us. It’s also a feat akin to childbirth. Just ask my anxiety.
The trip out was rough, and I don’t mean turbulence. By the time we departed from Midway, I was questioning my decision. After a couple of days of quality mother-son/cousin/family time, I’m thinking it was all worth it…
…but enough for solo parenting on a flight again?
Each minute that brought us closer to leaving my sister-in-law’s house increased my unease. It accelerated with every mile that took us closer to the airport.
I finally checked in with that unwanted passenger of mine, known as anxiety, and realized something. My physical feeling of anxiety in this scenario — electrical-like inner current, increased heart rate, shallower breath — it’s the same physical reactions as excitement. So I asked myself, “How you would look at this through excitement?”
And there’s the shift.
If I were excited, I’d be anticipating the flight ahead. I’d see finding the rental car return, hiking to ticketing, and even facing TSA as an adventure; the drive home from Chicago a challenge accepted.
It’s all the difference in the world when you can face the stuff of life head on instead of cowering in the corner from it.
This is why I check in with my body so often. This is why I write #takeashift posts on Instagram. It’s why I play with perspective and delight in finding happy in the crappy. Because more often than not, mental games become mental gains.
Our mommy & me trip to Connecticut was for family fun (and because Muscato’s been gonezo at work). But equally so, it’s been a trip for me and my seemingly lifelong companion known as anxiety. If I can’t escape her, I shall embrace her. I won’t let her drive the bus (or the rental car for that matter), but she can sit beside me and remind me that I’m still human. That I’m still in the game. And that I’m capable of so much more than cowering in the corner.
My anxiety, therefore, isn’t the reason I cower; it’s the reason I stand.
Stand with me.
I know you can.