In the last few days my responsibilities at work have changed (for the better) but it has also increased my commute time on certain days. Usually my commute is around 10-15 minutes, but now I’m driving roughly 45-60 minutes into work. This isn’t to complain but to give you a little backstory. Sunday evening I was driving home on the interstate at around 10:15pm. I’m not a huge fan of night driving and it was made even worse by the lightening that was ahead of me. The rain started to increase and before I got onto the interstate I pulled into a gas station to check the weather/call and whine to my boyfriend. I get back into driving mode and moments after I’ve hit the interstate it is raining so hard I can barely see. This puts me into panic mode- Cassie, which translates into me audibly asking the world for help and a lot of mouth breathing.
Photo Cred – lostinintrospection insta
Reaching near panic attack hysteria, I pull over on the busy interstate, throw on my flashers and call my boyfriend again. I dramatically give him a retelling and let him know I almost passed out from all the mouth breathing. He’s clearly helpless and I’m rather manic so I tell him I’ll call him back and hang up. I end up driving 15 below the posted speed limit along with everyone else and safely making it to my exit. Then I safely make it home.
So what was the point of that anecdote? After I got home I sat in my car and realized how silly I had been. I had called my boyfriend not once, but twice about how distressed I was. Panic was clearly in my voice, but all I did was worry him because he couldn’t do anything. Also, I had gotten through it. I was safe, it was possible to get home and so I did, and I had overreacted/ dramatized the entire situation. This isn’t something I’m proud of doing but I share with you because in that moment I realized that the world isn’t going to send me things I can’t handle.
I live a pretty safe lifestyle and do pretty mundane things in my life. I’m pretty content with that but when I was mouth breathing it felt like I was about to go cliff diving. That is literally the most ridiculous thing; especially coming from someone that has gone skydiving before.
I Got This.
So as I was reflecting on that experience and slight embarrassment for my reaction, I realized that this is a good analogy to how I’ve always approached difficulty in my life. Going into a store visit – I panic and cause panic all around and then it turns out fine. Having a financial crisis – I lose sleep and then everything turns out fine. I know that this isn’t the case in all aspects of life, but why do I make the nity grity little things such a big production? Besides that thought process, I was realizing that I’m a bigger badass at life than I gave myself credit for. And guess what? I have a book for that.
I have seen “You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life,” by Jen Sincero in stores ranging from Urban Outfitters to Target, but for some reason it was never my time to read it then. Now that I feel like I’ve started building up a confidence that I didn’t have in my early twenties that the book finally say “READ ME ALREADY.” On one of the first pages she says “..living my lukewarm life with the occasional flareups of awesomeness..” (Sincero, J. (2017). You are a badass. Philadelphia: Running Press.)which is exactlyhow I feel in my current situation. I have done some really cool things in my life, which I appreciate to this day, but am I living the life that I have the potential for?
Like I’ve said in previous posts, if I mention a book it’s because I want YOU to read it, not for me to give you the cliff notes. I think the best way for me to approach this is to tell you how I’m going to use this book in my own personal life. At work – we use an approach to helping customers as “get curious.” To me that reflects as – question everything. In this book she really nails home the fact that other people have taught us all things such as our moral compass or familial belief system. So why not question it at this stage in my life? I’m nearing 30 and am for the most part living my own life, so why am I still using outdated thought processes?
The third chapter in this book about “breathing in the Now” is exactly how I was feeling in the car. I was theorizing all the different ways I could get into accidents or if I pulled over would I ever figure out how to merge back on and if I got off the interstate in the middle of the dark country would I ever be able to find my way back on… Clearly I was living in a future that didn’t happen (thankfully) instead of living in the now. And when I calmed down, stopped the mouth breathing, and was able to just keep going was when I realized I could do it. Reading that chapter really made me feel validated in my feeling, not only am I not alone in my irrationality, but also my breakthrough wasn’t the first.
I Can Handle it
After the car ride, it reminded me of a second book, but this one is a little different. It’s a kid’s book called “I Can Handle it” and it’s in a series of mindful mantras with similar names. It’s definitely a series that I would recommend to everyone, young and old. It has basic concepts and gives great examples on how to use the mantras. I think that giving kids coping mechanisms like this when their young is the best way to prepare them for adulthood.
A few days later the exact same situation happened to me. It was late and the minute I hit the interstate, it started to downpour. Instead of freaking out, pulling over and calling my boyfriend to incite more panic, I remained calm. I kept saying I can do this, over and over until we got past the worst of it. I slowed down to a reasonable pace and I didn’t let my anxiety have the wheel. I didn’t shake for the rest of the evening and I had the mentality of “that sucked but at least its over.” I call that a success.