Fire

Today started out with dropping my kiddo off with Nana; a day to myself to accomplish my professional and personal to-dos. And ended with me in tears. Tears of anxiety.

In the midst of my anxiety, my mind brought me back to this time. Christmas 2016. Oh, how I yearn to go back. My mind remembers this as some of the happiest times I’ve had in the last few years.

As I reminisce on that time I began evaluating why that was such a happy memory for me? A few things easily come to mind:

  1. I had so much to look forward to. This is hands down the biggest thing. I was starting my education process for my real estate license and had just begun a lip sense business than was fun, not incredibly time consuming, but more successful than I imagined.
  2. I’d finally hit a stride in motherhood. We’d figured out solutions for Ava’s biggest challenges. She was happily gaining weight and enjoying life.
  3. We were in a (relatively) comfortable spot financially. Dustin worked at a great company, we could pay our bills each month.
  4. I had come out of the darkness of PPD and hadn’t yet experienced the anxiety that would creep in about 9 months later.

But the funny thing about memories is that they have a habit of sugar coating themselves. If I look back critically, it wasn’t a perfect time. We had challenges.

  1. I was exhausted. I was staying up until 2 am every night studying.
  2. Motherhood was going well but wasn’t perfect.  I was bored of being a stay at home mom and craved socialization.
  3. We could pay our bills, yes, but we were in debt up to our eyeballs. We could only afford the tiny mortgage for our tiny house because school loans, car payments, and credit card debt took up the bulk of our income. Dustin’s work situation had become unstable, his income had dropped because of other situations and he was ubering on the side to make ends meet.
  4. Although I do miss my lower-anxiety times, I had just started peeking my head out of PPD and was stuck dealing with unresolved grief from losing my mom.

After analyzing perception vs reality, I’ve realized that things may not have been all there perfect back then, but one thing remains. In the face of anxiety, excitement and wins. There is nothing more exciting than the start of a new adventure.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you know starting a new business is far more fun than running a business, am I right? The funny thing is, once I got to a point I never thought I’d hit, that’s when the anxiety set in for me. What if I have a slow month? What if I make a mistake? What if I’m not good at this? What if I have to work this hard every day? What if the market crashes? What if I’m not giving enough attention to my daughter? What if my family starts to rely on my income? What if I get sick?

The reality is, in between the last two years, a whole lot of those “what ifs” did happen. It was really hard; some of our darkest times as a couple and as a family. But the amazing thing is, through those really bad, excruciating times, have come some of the things I’m most proud of. I’m no longer exhausted from staying up all night. Motherhood is more balanced as I dedicate a few days a week to my kiddo and a few days to my business. We can pay our bills and have left overs. We’ve paid off our debt and live in a beautiful house in a neighborhood we love. My anxiety is still a struggle sometimes but through therapy I’ve learned how to manage it better than ever before.

I think there’s two point to all of this.

  1. When you look back on happy times in the past, don’t forget how the hard lessons you’ve learned along the way have shaped you into the better, stronger version you are today.
  2.  Anxiety is like a fire: uncertainty and doubt are it’s fuel but excitement and gratitude are it’s “water”. You are the manager of your anxiety fire; will you feed it or extinguish it? The choice is up to you.