What a Difference a Day Makes…

March 8
March 8

Yesterday morning I shuffled out of the house to walk Tetley, simultaneously grouchy about and awestruck by the beauty of the snow that had fallen overnight. My neighborhood looked like a black-and-white movie

Twenty-four little hours later, I pulled into the driveway after work and caught a glimpse of color in the corner of the garden. I stepped across the now soggy brown lawn and found these. A promise of spring.

March 9
March 9

That’s March, isn’t it?  A crazy month of winds, rains, dramatic light changes, time changes.  The calendar tells us it’s Spring even as we still shiver and our breath lingers like a cloud in the frosty air. Still, we made it through winter – the proof is in the brave croci. We are in for wonderful changes – right? Notice, I hesitate. That’s the way I’ve been recently.

Lately, my old enemy – anxiety – has been lurking around ready to pounce on me at anytime, grabbing my throat and giving me a gut punch. My daughter is a senior in high school and we are waiting for college decisions, financial aid offers. Where will she be accepted? What will I be able to afford? You get the picture.

The uncertainty of major changes, so much being up in the air like this, makes me hold my breath, my chest gets tight. Like any parent, I want my daughter’s life to be perfect – for her to get what she wants – or at the very least, what she needs. And in this case, there is very little I can do to control that. So I have become a worrying, anxious mess. I hate myself like this and my daughter, the picture of calm and acceptance, thinks I’m crazy.

These 24 hours in nature (as always, my favorite teacher) reminds me how fast things can change and how most of the time, there’s not a damn thing you can do about any of it. Depending on how you look at it, this fact can be a comfort or, if you are me, a terror. That’s the key: it’s how you look at it. Any of us who have lived on the planet for any time certainly have experienced both the joys and sorrows of change and how fast things can happen.

Within 24 hours you may meet – or lose – the love of your life, win the lottery – (I’m waiting…) or lose your fortune, be diagnosed with cancer or given the all-clear. Shit happens and much of it is beyond our control. Better to not get in a tizzy, right? Better to wait and see what life will bring and meanwhile, try to live in the present. Seize the joy of  a blossom or just relax and delight in the peace of a snowy morning  as sick as I may be, of winter. Breathing is so much easier without the vice-grip of anxiety around my throat. And besides, this morning, it smells like spring.

3 thoughts on “What a Difference a Day Makes…”

  1. Such a beautiful piece, Tricia. And so true. I feel for you in your anxiety – I hate that sick stomach feeling….and so often I can’t even trace the cause…the world gives plenty of reasons for general anxiety. And it is a hard time for a mom to look ahead to her girl leaving for college….And yet, you are right about the sudden shifts and the blessings present even during hard times. Yesterday I took a walk at the beach and ran into an old friend who lost her husband suddenly. Your piece was so timely as you wrote of much of our conversation – the truth of uncertainty, the shock in discovering that being a good person is not a shield against hard times….and yet…it was a glorious day! Sunshine glinting on the water! Dogs frolicking (and sniffing each other’s butts)! Kids collecting shells! And an unexpected walk with a friend….XO

  2. I hope your anxiety has subsided and fingers crossed for your daughter. Anxiety just creeps up on us doesn’t it? One day we’re rolling along smoothly then aaagh, it grips you. But as you say the best medicine is to try and stay in the present…not so always easy to do but worth trying anyway. I sometimes to a tonglen meditation practice which really helps with this kind of stuff if you’re interested.

  3. I am not familiar with tonglen meditation — I’ll check it out. Love yoga and should just get more disciplined …

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