(apropos of nothing, just a photo from my walk this AM in Salt Lake City…)
I seem to have become much more anxious as I get older. I don’t remember being so worried all the time ten years ago, but I suppose it comes with the territory.
I definitely worry about “normal” things, things that other people could probably relate to, but then, my biggest pre-occupation is something I wonder if anyone else “gets:” I am constantly worried about being appropriately attired, mostly for the weather, but also for whatever situation I’m going to be in. I want to be warm and comfortable, above all, and look and feel like myself. No simple task as it turns out.
My level of anxiety surrounding my clothing/accessories really hit home for me after a nightmare I had last week about a potential zombie apocalypse, but that was REALLY about my trip this week to Salt Lake City.
I jolted awake at 3 AM Saturday frightened out of my mind and feeling like I was still in the middle of the Walking Dead. (the early days though – more like Fear the Walking Dead…) But I wasn’t anxious about the zombies, per se, I was anxious and angry at myself that I did not have an “appropriate” backpack to hold everything I thought I needed to survive – or at least to go out in the world.
I needed a large, but comfortable, sturdy backpack with lots of zippers and pockets, to hold all of the water I’d need, and lip balm. Lots and lots of lip balm. Maybe some weapons of some sort, and probably some clothes. All of that was really beside the point though, since I was frustrated specifically at myself that I wasn’t prepared for such a situation.
Which leads me to my Salt Lake City trip.
I look at the weather multiple times a day to be sure I won’t be too cold, or hot wherever I’m going or for whatever I’m doing. Of course I checked the forecast for SLC last week and it was supposed to be really nice and warm for a couple of days, rainy one day and then snowy and very cold our last day. I started to feel anxiety about what I would wear/bring for the trip, and since I always travel with only a carry on, had to be very limited and smart about packing.
Luck would have it that REI was doing their member discount last weekend, and I knew I could turn to Patagonia for a packable jacket for the trip. I went on Friday and tried on the nano-puff jacket (I didn’t want down) and liked it well enough, AND it was going to be my birthday present from my mother, so only a temporary outlay of cash from my end, but I didn’t get it.
Why not? Because I decided a week or so ago that I was putting my wardrobe on hold – nothing in, nothing out for the foreseeable future; I am incredibly happy with my wardrobe as-is. I DO NOT WANT TO ADD ANYTHING NEW. And I tried to convince myself that I would be fine in 40 degrees with my Icebreaker wool jacket and cashmere sweater on top, or vice versa, and I didn’t need to bring anything else. But I knew I wouldn’t be okay with that, who was I kidding. I’m desperately afraid to be cold – I get anxious just thinking about it.
Then I had the nightmare on Friday night and immediately knew it was about the Patagonia jacket, about being prepared for whatever situation I could find myself in, and that I should just go back and get it.
I did, and felt nauseous for the whole process; I couldn’t get in or out of there fast enough. I was upset at myself that I “gave in” to my anxiety, frustrated at the initial (albeit temporary) outlay of cash on my part, and disappointed that I was already breaking my wardrobe statis.
I know I’ll be happy I have it tomorrow and Thursday, and of course I’ll wear it frequently during the colder months at home and for traveling; it’s a wonderful, lightweight jacket that folds up small into itself. I’ll use it for many many years.
This is partially what I meant a long time ago when I wrote about wanting to create my “perfect” wardrobe and then be finished. I want to know that I have everything I need for nearly any situation I can think of, so that I don’t have to “worry ” so much about what I’m going to wear or pack. I do know now, however, that there is no such thing as the “perfect” wardrobe when life changes so much day to day, year to year.
But for right now, and the near future, I have achieved with my wardrobe what I have always wanted, what else could I possibly need?? And that is why I decided to put my wardrobe on hold for a while. Of course, I know I don’t want to do that forever, and who am I kidding, at some point I’m sure I’ll figure out something else I NEED to add for one reason or another, but for right now, I know I need nothing.
But back to the story. And my anxiety.
I know I won’t always be able to deal with my anxiety by buying something new. In fact, I’m sort of disappointed in myself that I did that this time. I tried to convince myself that I would probably survive if I didn’t have the Patagonia jacket, and yes, I might be cold, but I’ve been cold before, and I survived. I almost got to the point that I was excited to try it; to try NOT buying the jacket and pushing myself to discover what would happen without it – it would be an adventure! Then, the nightmare, and I became too scared NOT to buy it. Now that I am here, in Salt Lake City, I am confident I did the right thing, and am feeling calm and secure.
So, I don’t know what the moral to this story is, or the conclusion, but I knew I needed to tell it. Of course, some of you will read this and think me completely ridiculous. And some of you will relate. Ultimately, it has helped me to understand myself better, and that is always a good thing.
The root is, of course, that I am still dealing with “good enough” or “strong enough” issues (I am not “strong” enough to deal with being cold, or uncomfortable, or inappropriately dressed…), but in the meantime, I must try to be a little less hard on myself, and if I can use a generous birthday offer from my mother to alleviate some stress and anxiety in my life, why shouldn’t I?
The end 🙂