Yes, that’s a guy dressed up as a Krystal’s burger. More on him later.
Despite the appreciation and love I felt over this past Mother’s Day weekend, my a-hole brain decided he missed me. He was ever so quiet, tip-toeing around in the shadows, but I saw him. That sneaky little thing. Some of those old doubts that I thought were gone and done with, made their way back into my head. The “what if” statements were becoming louder.
Then this morning, as I non-chalantly merged onto the the freeway to practice, I wasn’t feeling it. There was fear, but no adrenaline. There was a job to do, but not as much inspiration or motivation. I simply felt blah, with an undertone of over-all dread. Still, I had to practice, so I settled in for a drive.
When I first started practicing my highway driving, it was scary as hell. My anticipatory anxiety and adrenaline were through the roof. However, this made my accomplishments seem even bigger. The joy was greater. The pride was overflowing. Now, I am in a different place. A place of maintaining, of work; of just plain commitment.
I have always struggled with this. As a creative, deep-thinker, I am very driven by inspiration and emotional rewards. When I’m “not feeling it”, I struggle. When you have depression/anxiety, you really struggle to feel it sometimes. It can be the most beautiful, sunny day, and all you feel is rain. So, you have to dig deep. Which is not easy by any means.
I’ve always struggled in setting reasonable goals for myself. You need to be somewhat organized to submit a goal, something my ping-pong ball, ADHD brain is not (and yes, this low-energy girl really is diagnosed ADHD). I’m lucky if I can make a grocery list and remember to look at it. But this weekend, I remembered something important about goals.
I ran a 5K with some friends this weekend, and although I love to run, I am a sporadic runner at best. I don’t normally care about my distance and am even less aware of my time. But as I was running this race with hundreds of other people, I found myself becoming motivated to pass the people around me. They become short, attainable goals. I’d go for the guy 5 feet away, then 10 feet, then I’d try to outpace the girl next to me. These small goals propelled me all the way to the finish. My friends applauded me on my time, which turned out to be pretty good! All thanks to these small, motivational goals that helped me along the way.
This is a great way to approach managing your anxiety. You will not overcome it all in a day. As stubborn as I am, this is not easy to accept. I pride myself on my patience with most things in life, but I am not a patient learner. You should see me try to learn a new sport. Let’s just say I save all the curse words for those special times. Not pretty.
Yes, I did get on the highway and drive for many fear-laden miles, but I was hard on myself for not feeling the same sense of joy and accomplishment. The smaller the goal, the more likely you are to reach it. And if you don’t, you pick yourself up and try again tomorrow. If you do meet your goal, by golly, celebrate it! You should celebrate the fact that you got out of bed today, dag nab it! But what was I doing? Beating myself up because I didn’t achieve my goal with joy. I had forgotten that there is joy in simply reaching a goal at all.
I shared my running epiphany with my husband the other night and his little business-oriented mind lit up. “You made a SMART goal!” Why thanks, dear hubby, for thinking I’m so smart. But then he explained that it’s an acronym that helps make sure you’ve created a manageable goal.
Sounds pretty organized, right? Or you can just settle for small goals, if memorizing an acronym makes you even more anxious. But good to know, my love. This is why my husband runs a company and I do not.
Back to my current state; this is the grunt-work, the maintenance, the commitment phase. It’s like getting up to workout when you don’t feel like it. It’s doing your homework when you want to go out and play. It’s getting out of bed when you really don’t want to. This is the hard stuff.
Which brings me back to the Krystal man.
This morning on my uninspired (but successful! Goal reached=credit given!) drive, I made it up I-75 north to the city of Emerson. It’s a new, sports training development area, and there was a new Krystal’s restaurant opening up. Hence the dancing mini-cheeseburger on the side of the road. He was really busting a move, let me tell you. And guess what? That silly, dancing cheeseburger just plain made me laugh. I snapped a picture and praised him for a job well done. He wasn’t just doing his job well, he was doing his job with joy. He just as well could’ve stood there and waved. But he was dancing up a storm.
You see, the Krystal man showed me what I really needed to see at that moment; that we all have a job to do. It may not be something we enjoy. It might be hard. You might have to dress up as a cheeseburger and dance on the side of the road. But you get out there and do it.
Work will not always bring us joy. But there is joy in work. We can also do our work with joy. We can’t expect it to be a given. We have to dig deep for it sometimes.
So even on the blah days, I hope you still get out there and do the work. Practice panicking with purpose. Give yourself credit for the little things. Start achieving those small goals. Start your day with a big ole’ spoonful of grace. And when things get really hard, you’d better put on that cheeseburger suit and dance your pants off.