I have spent a lot of my life afraid. And impatient. To arrive at 36 and not have the things I hoped for - a husband, children, a stable career, financial security, a home to call my own - has at times felt destabilising. I frantically longed for more control over these unknowables. Have you ever felt frantic longing? It’s quite the charm. Deep aching yearning feels like a long stretchy endless thing and when it’s put into a frantic spin cycle you’re left with a frayed and frazzled mess hidden inside you. The type of mess that keeps your brain scrambling like eggs at 2am, 4am, 6am. The type of worry that gets out of bed with you and clings to your shoulders all day like an invisible sloth. It’s a lot to carry around and it used to make me feel a bit manic.
There was a period of time a few years ago where I constantly had a radar on for “my future husband". I’d travel the tube in London, my eyes darting from man to man thinking could he be my husband? Could he be my husband? like a total desperado. And let me tell you, the offers were pouring in. Because there is nothing sexier than a manic woman wanting to fix her life into neat little boxes so she can sleep at night. Why is everyone watching porn when they could be standing to attention for the sweet aphrodisiac of a body clock crazed egg timer desperate to squash life into a zip lock bag and carry it around firmly under her arm?
But I’m realising something wonderful. I’m realising that pressure and fear around age only creates panic if we believe life to be a fixed unchanging entity. When in reality, as we know with our rational minds, life is an ever shifting, endlessly creative space offering infinite possibilities and countless surprises for us all. Some will be good surprises, others less so. But fixating on what might not happen is a fruitless task. We may as well spend that time imagining good things instead. Life will happen as it happens. If we're always on guard, vigilantly watching out for bad occurrences the chances are we'll be drained, tense and less able to experience the levity and sweetness of the small moments that make life wonderful. Spending time imagining good outcomes may make us feel more hopeful, we may even become more radiant and magnetic and more likely to attract joy into our world. If like attracts like then perhaps imagining abundance and practicing gratitude for whatever is here now might create more things to celebrate. I’ve been practicing changing my fearful “what ifs” into cheerful “what ifs” (i.e. changing “what if I never meet a life partner?” into “what if I meet someone wonderful?”) and it’s made my mind a much calmer place which has had a positive effect on my nervous system which was always being taxed by worry.
I saw a great quote on instagram that said “Worrying is stupid. It's like walking around with an umbrella waiting for it to rain” Wiz Khalifa. I love that image because it makes worry seem absurd. And yet how many of us do constantly walk around with a worry umbrella up just in case of adverse weather/life events? As if anticipating upset could ever stop it being upsetting. It will make no difference to how something feels when it happens; future moments will be full to the brim with themselves. But mentally torturing ourselves with scary imaginary scenarios drains all the humour and ease from our present moments and distracts us from what is good in our lives right now.
I developed a ritual where I go swimming and as I move through the water I repeat positive affirmations in my mind. It’s a kind of moving meditation. A few months ago I was swimming and affirming that I am loved and cherished by my wonderful life partner, and I realised that whilst I'm waiting for love to arrive in the form of a partner, perhaps I could try and create the same energy for myself. I asked myself how it feels to be adored and cherished. I conjured up the feelings of love and adoration I feel for others and once it felt full and energised I imagined sending it to myself. I experienced the warm generous energy of love, care, holding and appreciation and started repeating ‘I adore and cherish myself’ in my mind as I swam. Each time I repeated it I felt those feelings expand within. I had such a huge grin on my face (between the goggles and my grin I probably looked like Crazy Frog) and I realised that rather than waiting for something external, there is so much we can take charge of internally. We can’t control the outer world, as much as we often wish we could, but we can take charge of our inner world and make it a place of compassion, love and celebration.