a check list to anxiety

April 10, 2015

  1. Save money
  2. Move to New York
  3. Get a job to stay afloat 
  4. Then get a job I actually like and relevant to my career
  5. Get my own apartment
  6. ….

Dot. Dot. Dot.

I know many driven and ambitious people who are constantly thinking what is next and feel anxious all the time. It sounds like anxiety goes hand-in-hand with creating a list to check off, or when you are wanting something to happen.

The short list above was a mental list prior to my move; my own New York “checklist,” if you will. Less than a year here and I have accomplished so much so now, I question myself, “What’s next?” But I later find that this process not very healthy for me because my mind is constantly worried about things I have to do and how I am going to get there. 

Here is a disclaimer: I have always been an anxious person, but I recognize that this is unhealthy for me. But I do want more. I want to succeed. I have a dream, damn it!

Back to the question that provoked this entire post’s theme: so I crossed things off my list, now what? What is next? The underlie meaning of this question is: what is next on my career path?

This question has been tossed around in the past couple of weeks during my conversations with friends – thing is… as much as I know what I want to do in five years, I cannot plan for what is the next thing to check off “my list” as of yet. Frankly, I am flirting with different ideas and potential roles, and life is a truly a series of trial-and-errors.

Before I can move on from any role, I believe that I need to master what I am doing now. And right now, I am not mastering anything. I am not killing it. (Okay I am lying, some days I am, but most days, I am drowning and crying for help). I want to explore and acquire new skills that will strengthen me as a candidate for future employers, but as a person, too.

This subject rather frustrates me because while I am “making plans” and trying to think of things to conquer, anxiety is controlling my life and emotions. This goes back to the figuring it out bullshit sorta. In the words of a great friend, B, she said, “I call that future tripping.” Sounds hysterical, but truthfully right. I need to stop future tripping.

Although I believe making plans and setting goals are crucial in life, my point is: it must not become an obsession. It exudes my entire mind completely, and this is not good-healthy.

While we all have things we want to check off our life list, we cannot get overly worked up on something that may or may not happen. I believe the only way we can feel or take any action is to plan as much as you can, and be prepared for any unfortunate circumstances (if any). Why stress and get anxious about things that we cannot control? My second step is learning how to manage stress and anxiety; when I figure that out successfully, I will let you know. 

While I can sit here, be anxious about the mysterious and unknown No. 6 on the list, I really need to bring myself to the present and focus. Focus on what I am going to do today to bring me where I want to be tomorrow.

Don’t you agree?

– C

PS: It’s Friday, and if you’re reading this: thank you. Because who reads on Fridays, right? Ha. But wanted to share that I wrote more than half this post sitting at a bar. Was unhappy with the product then went back to edit it countless times – two days of editing. Although here is the final product up – I do not know if I convey the message thoroughly to you all, but I had to get it off my chest because there are so many things happening internally! In short, though, what I am trying to say is: life check lists are good, but they can be bad too. Stop projecting fear, and anxiety about our future and enjoy now. Like right now. I am going to enjoy my serious Grey’s binge on Netflix. K, bye!