Agitation

The last week or so, I’ve been feeling twitchy. You know, a little uncomfortable, a little on edge. Out of sorts. (Why is no one ever in sorts?)

There’s manifestly no reason for me to feel this way. I had a good weekend–got to see my two oldest friends, made some awesome food for Thanksgiving, watched The Walking Dead yesterday. Been doing my yoga and breathing deep. Blogging a ton, as you all know.

Of course, that’s often the case. We don’t always understand immediately why we feel what we feel. But part of the way I want to think about things is to pay attention to strange feelings, not ignore them.

Besides, being agitated messes with my sleep–and whatever conclusions you might draw from the title of this blog, I am very fond of my sleep.

Part of it, I think, is just doubt, which is pretty habitual with me. I wonder on a pretty regular basis if I’m doing the best thing here or if this whole enterprise might be a waste of time. There’s no way to know, of course, which is why occasionally it makes me twitchy. I worry sometimes that I’m self-sabotaging, making myself seem unemployable further down the road. And occasionally I feel a little bit like a loafer or a bum.

It’s not a cause for concern; these are the kinds of thoughts I think it’s best to acknowledge and send on their way. They serve a purpose–to keep us self-assessing–but they are not inherently helpful.

One of the ways I chill out about these things is by acknowledging what is going well so far. But sometimes you have to go for a more external solution. Going for walks. Talking to friends. Small adventures, I find, are excellent for mental realignment. Novelty kicks us out of our patterns.

And, of course, reading. Books have always been my go-to method for settling myself. Like I’ve said, I’m reading Dracula at the moment. When I went to put it down the other day, I noticed that it still had the price tag on the back: 7.70 Euro.

You see, the first time I read Dracula, I was living in Siena, Italy. It was the end of my semester abroad. Everything was winding down and all of my classmates were leaving. I stayed an extra week so that my family could come visit. In the days leading up to their arrival, I was feeling pretty rough–really agitated, even. Anticipating reverse culture shock. Missing my friends. Missing Siena and Italy already. So I went to the bookstore, which–Siena being more remote than Rome or Florence–had a pretty meager English language section. And I bought Dracula. I read it in the Piazza del Campo and at the Duomo and on top of the Fortezza Medicea. All the places I knew I would miss. I finished it on the plane ride home. And I felt settled.

You woulda been sad, too, trust me.

You woulda been sad, too, trust me.

There’s something about reading, one word after another, which is even more reassuring than writing. Maybe it’s experiencing order rather than creating it. No idea.

But today, I’m going to take a book somewhere new and quiet. I think that’ll do the trick.

What do you do to feel calm?

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