Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Motivation and Anxiety

Today, I attended my very first yoga class. Our wellness center offers all classes for free on the first week of every semester, so I knew I had to take advantage of this. I've always wanted to attend a yoga class (it's on my bucket list!), but I always used the cost as an excuse to avoid the anxiety of trying something totally new. This time, I had no excuse. It was just me and my anxiety.

For the past several weeks, I had been saying I was going to go to as many classes as I could this week to try everything out. Now that the week is here, I've been piling up excuses left and right.

But I'm done with that. I hate that quality in me. I need to be brave, flexible, adaptive, and fearless. If I ended this week without going to one single yoga class, I would never have forgiven myself. So I kicked my butt all the way to the wellness center this morning and just did it.

So I guess you could say I'm really proud of myself. :) Several times throughout the class, I would smile and think to myself how ridiculous it was that I was afraid of ever being there. Even if I went by myself and knew nobody, it didn't matter. Yoga is a personal, reflective thing. You never really have to feel self-conscious about not knowing what you're doing because it's such an intricate and self-centered form of exercise that nobody has time to see what you're doing. They're too busy perfecting their own positions, focusing on their own breathing, or meditating in their own minds. They don't give a crap if your knee isn't perfectly above your ankle.

I've been dealing with motivation a lot since the end of the Semester from Hell. And I don't mean motivation like, "Get off the couch and do something productive!" I mean it in a bigger sense, like "Figure out what you want in life, and work toward it. Don't let fear stop you."

I'm getting tired of the bitterness and jealousy I experience when I witness other people's awesome lives on Facebook. I have friends/acquaintances studying abroad, getting internships in California, finding careers in Florida, and going on vacation in Colorado, the Caribbean, or New York City. I'm tired of it because I know that I could have those things, too...if I just stopped doubting myself and letting my anxiety win.

I really hate running. But I tell myself, "If Micaela can run a marathon, I can most certainly run a mile."

I freak out on the first day of big life changes. But I tell myself, "If Katie can move to Nashville for an internship, I can most certainly attend a middle school within walking distance of my apartment, find the classroom I've already observed, and become better acquainted with a teacher I've already met."

The point is, I'm graduating this spring, and I know what I want--to move out of South Dakota. Preferably, to move out of the Midwest completely. And--just like with the yoga class--it sounds so fine and dandy when it's far in the future, but I know when the time comes, the anxiety will creep up on me. And I'll stick around, find a school nearby, and plant myself there for life. Then I'll watch other people's lives and be miserable that I was too scared to make my own dreams a reality.

Well, I don't want that to happen, so I need to practice getting out of my comfort zone and kicking Mr. Anxiety in the face. I found a great opportunity to get into an incredible teaching program in Boston (yes, Boston!). I'm going to pursue it. And I'll probably have a lot of anxiety about it, but that won't stop me.

Maybe this time next year, people will be bitter and jealous of my Facebook photos...


  1. I also found myself saying "If Micaela and Bryce can run a marathon, I can run a half...right?" That was the main drive to start running... and get healthy of course. Finally getting my job was an awesome feeling, but running a half marathon was such an amazing feeling I'm so glad I did it. It's such a personal accomplishment because all it took was me being mentally strong and dedicated. I know I'm the goofiest and least likely person to be a runner, but so what... I got over it and find pride in talking to coworkers and friends about running.
    So go ahead and make new goals, live in different places, experience new things. Hell, you're best friends with Jamie Oliver, right? Life is great!

    1. Yes! That's exactly how I feel! Thanks for the comment.

  2. I've always feared being one of the people from my small town who never got out. It's one big reason why I applied to the Peace Corps. Have you ever thought of doing that? I think it's the sort of thing that would really, really fit you, and their number 1 need is always English teachers. You'd be totally golden.

    If I don't get in (the diabetic thing), I definitely want to apply to lots of out-of-state jobs. It's frightening because everyone I know ends up teaching in Michigan, which is an obviously terrible idea. I really want to go to Vermont, to be honest. We'll see. I also am thinking about teaching in Korea for a year.

    The world is so big, and I really want to see a lot of it before I am settled somewhere.

    1. OMG I want to go to Vermont, too!

      I applied for MATCH Corps on Wednesday night, which is in Boston. We'll see how that works for me. They're supposed to get back to me within a week.

    2. Awesome! Also, the choconut oatmeal looks amazing. I only have instant oatmeal right now, though, like a total fail. I fully plan on buying real rolled oats and trying your variations soon though. They all sound wonderful :)

  3. Melanie here! I enjoyed this piece, please email me--I have a question about your blog. MelanieLBowen[at]gmail[dot]com