Donnie and I often discuss where those lines fall in my anxieties of “Things I Will Work to Conquer” and “Things I Will Build My Life Around.” A simpler way to refer to them as the “Someday” list and the “Never” list. First, we both know that there are things I put in the later category that sometimes make their way into the first category. Like trail running. Or group running. Or group anything for that matter. I mean, I remember when I first started trying to run in 2006-2007, I told someone at the shoe store, “I don’t like running with other people.”
HA! Silly, Zoot.
So the recognition that things change aside, we often discuss whether or not it’s “giving in” to just arrange my life around some of my anxieties. He’s definitely not pushing me to do things I’m not up for, he knows how far I’ve come in so many ways to ever push me to do anything, but he doesn’t like when I write something off “permanently” because of anxiety. He would much rather me say, “Someday,” and be open to the possibility whereas I feel like there’s a little bit of relief given to my soul if I say “never” even if part of me recognizes that I’ve moved a lot of things off of the “never” list. It’s like I have a “Things To Worry About” list and if things are on the “Never” list, they don’t have to go on “Worry” list! If they’re on the “Someday” list then they’re also on the “Worry” list.
A good example is me and a Manual Shift vehicle. My Dad tried to teach me way back when and there were so many tears we just pushed it to the side. Donnie tried to teach me way back when and basically the same thing happened.
I just really experience high levels of anxiety when I’m driving, so adding an entirely different set of things to worry about on top of the other things I’m already worried about? Seems cruel. And Donnie has accepted it as a “someday” anxiety but he just bought a 5-speed Jeep and now he’s realizing my resistance is a “never” anxiety and he does not like that. But I would rather us not having to keep revisit the idea so I prefer “never” to which he sees as me letting my anxieties dictate my life.
Language matters. And it’s just like with our kids, we don’t like them to say they can’t do something, because then they believe they really can’t and they become closed off to the possibility that maybe they can. AND I GET THAT. But I also know that there is a foreboding sense of dread that hangs over the possibility of someday and I really prefer the reassurance that, if I don’t want to, I don’t have to ever do it. Then I can take it off my “Worry” list! My “Worry” list is long enough. I don’t need “someday learning how to drive a 5-speed” on there. Currently on there is “visit my kid in NYC” and that terrifies me (due to travel anxieties and big city anxieties) and I don’t want to add any other BIG ANXIETIES on the list in the near future until I conquer that one.
What say you, dear friends. How do you use language around talking about your anxieties? Do you put things on the “Never” list just to take them off of your “Worry” list? Or do you believe that gives them too much power?