I’ve never been able to relax. Whenever I try, I end up worrying. There’s so much to worry about! My health. Finances. Family matters. My relationship with my fiancee. My print shop. I worry that my one employee will quit. I worry about the taxman freezing all of my bank accounts. I worry that no-one will show up to my movie screenings. I worry that I’ll get cancer before I quit smoking. I worry that this is all there is.
To combat my worrying, I’ve always kept insanely busy. Project upon project, until there is no room left in my brain to worry. Which brings me back to my original point – I can’t relax, because if I try, I either end up thinking about all of my projects, or I end up worrying. Booze and pot can be temporary solutions for me, but they’re not good for me, so I try to not rely on them. Sex also works for me, but within an hour or two I’m back at it. Thinking and/or worrying.
I’m useless on a vacation. I find it so hard to turn off my brain and just enjoy myself by the pool or the ocean. The older I get, the harder I find it to lose myself in a good book. Movies work as a form of relaxation, but even during a movie, I start worrying about how the movie will soon be over, and I’ll be back to Life. And Life, to me, is usually something to worry about.
This past Saturday, my girl was away for the day, so I was left to my own devices. I ran some errands during the day, and got home at 4 pm. After unpacking groceries, I decided to lie down on the bed. I very deliberately tried to get myself to relax. I lay there, arms folded across my chest, and focused on my breathing. I closed my eyes, and looked at what was going on in my head. What I was thinking about. What I was worrying about. If someone would have seen me, they would have assumed I was asleep. I was not. I was wide awake, wading around in my thoughts, trying to turn them off one at a time. Telling myself that there was nothing to worry about, and that everything was okay.
Two hours later, I was still at it.
An hour after that, I realized that I was actually relaxing. It was a combination of how quiet it was, with our cat Hattie laying up against me, asleep, with the realization that I didn’t have anything to do right at that moment in time. I didn’t have to work on anything. I didn’t have to worry about anything. I could do anything I wanted, and I was doing exactly what I wanted to do – I was relaxing.
And it felt wonderful.
Ever since I got out of the hospital last year for a manic episode I had, I have slowly been taking away projects, which opens up more thinking space in my brain. Unfortunately, upon reflection, I’ve been replacing thinking about projects with Worrying. I’m going to work really hard to stop worrying so much. I’ve had serious conversations about what I worry about with my girl, and she is like a rock, reassuring me. Really, my life isn’t so bad. It’s actually quite good! I work for myself. I’m writing again. I’m in love and getting married this summer. I have good friends and the respect of my peers. I’m taking care of my taxes. I’m downloading good books to my Kobo and reading again. I’m in a good place, literally and figuratively.
That’s all I can really ask for, isn’t it?