My life is full of contradictions. I love hanging out with people, but large groups stress me out. I have an abundance of guy friends, yet I get jealous when my fiancé has female friends (I’m working on this, it’s one of the things I dislike about myself). I love having friends across the country, but am horrible at keeping up with them (also working on). I try to live a healthy lifestyle and work out frequently, but I love eating and have the worst time sticking to diets. I begrudgingly admit that I am rather sensitive, yet try my hardest to come off as strong, independent, and even sometimes wary of people. Sometimes I think my life would be easier if these contradictions didn’t exist.
One of these contradictions that I am facing currently is my tendency to sign myself up for crazy amazing adventures, but when the time comes to start them, I’m scared sh*tless (honestly I’m a nervous pooper). I leave for Hawaii in a week, and I am a ball of anxiousness. Now I am excited, but that is overshadowed by my overwhelming instinct to grind my heels into the ground and go curl up in a ball and watch Netflix. I even knew this was going to happen. Signing up for this amazing opportunity in November, I knew that this was coming, but at that point, my nerves were far away. And hell, I wasn’t leaving for like ever, I had plenty of time to figure stuff out.
Jump to now, and I’m an unproductive puddle of anxiousness. I watched a 20 episode season on Netflix over 2 days. I’m nervous about traveling to a place I’ve never been before, thousands of miles away from people I know. I’m nervous about how my co-workers will like me, and if I’ll be busy enough to keep away boredom that automatically has negative feelings attached to it for me. I’m nervous about my first job after graduation, and where it will take me. I’m nervous about how hard it may be to keep in contact with all my loved ones while trying to soak up everything I can at this once in a lifetime experience, and I’m nervous that I just won’t experience the next 6 months the “right” way.
I’ve had all of these worries for other situations in the past. College, studying abroad for a summer, my first full time job, going to a semester boarding school in high school, and even going to camp when I was like 10. And you know what, I enjoyed all of those things. Nothing bad happened because I was out experiencing the world. You would think that that fact would get through my head, but what can you say, I’m stubborn. And while I may not be the most comfortable at the moment, I know that Hawaii will be amazing. I know that I’ll keep in touch with loved ones and they’ll be here with open arms when I get home, and I know that the people I work with are not going to be monsters and most likely won’t hate me. Now if only the nervous little creature inside me knew that.
You might think that if I could, I would just get rid of the anxiety. I would tuck that little creature away and never see it again. But I don’t think I would. While I by no means love being anxious at times, I think it makes me appreciate experiences even more. When everything turns out way better than I expect it to, it seems like a happy accident instead of life just being normal. In a weird way, my anxiety about my adventures makes me happier, because expecting the worst makes the good times even better. As long as I can separate the illogical worry from the facts and the real-world likelihood of things, I can appreciate it.
In fact, I don’t know if I would get rid of many of my contradictions (except the jealousy part and keeping up with people). Enjoying people in small groups lets you get to know them at a more intimate level. Eating the foods I love in moderation makes me happy, and I’m still healthy even if my favorite food is pizza. Being sensitive, although I hate it, allows me to be a better partner, friend, and person, while being a bit wary of people who I am tentative of has saved me from a lot of pain. People are complex, and I think our contradictions are part of what make us unique.
As Walt Whitman once said “Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes”.
This picture is from my time in British Columbia, one of the many times in my life that my adventurous eyes were bigger than my stomach, but I’m so glad I did it and hey, stomachs stretch out.