My Holding Pattern

Great quote by William Faulkner, "Don't Be A Writer; Be Writing" shown in an antique typewriter

There’s a rhythm, a  a pattern to my life that I am so appreciative of, it scares me that just writing about it could jinx it. For those unfamiliar with chronic anxiety, the previous sentence illustrates how one turns that for which he is most grateful into a fear.

Ostensibly, my pattern is centered around writing. Each day begins with writing five hours starting around 8:30 in the morning. When I’m done, sometimes I take a walk, though I’ve used the inclement weather as rationalization to skip it lately.

What’s behind the writing habit is at the core of my anxiety. When I couldn’t find a path out of self-loathing, I was the least productive person who ever existed. At least that was how I felt. I gave up. If you’ve ever felt that way, or feel that way now, I want you to know you’re not alone. I remember the pain.

Now I’m back on my road, on a journey, filled with unknowns, fear, excitement, mourning, and exhilaration. Ain’t life grand?

And yet, in the back of my mind is the memory of letting days, weeks, even years pass with nothing to show for it. It terrifies me to recall how lost I felt. Especially when I feel the exact opposite now.

I’m guessing my fear is similar to those battling chemical addictions. I’ve heard people say, no matter how many sobriety chips they acquire there’s a nagging fear it only takes one drink, one joint, one whatever, to initiate a slide down a slippery slope into the abyss.

Perhaps in a few years, I will learn to appreciate moderation. Perhaps, I won’t be overly anxious on days I break my pattern just because. The times I have no “good” reason not to follow my normal rituals.

Sometimes I wonder if  I have a need for order. Any order. So when I was in my own abyss, I did my best to hold on to it, to decorate it, to make it my own. No surprises, just the same thing day after day. Just as now, I am doing my best to maintain my pattern of productivity, my pattern of taking care of my self, savoring moments in my life, and striving for authenticity.

When I just listed the elements of my current pattern I smiled. I thought, “good for me.” The list reminds me that every day is exciting and full of opportunities. I smiled because I’m nowhere near the shoulder of my road, no longer feeling that falling back in the abyss is inevitable.

Between dear friends who I now authentically relate to for the first time in my life, my therapist, who has been such an important guide in my journey, you, the readers who have been so supportive, and most of all, me, I have a sense of connection with my universe I’ve never known before. And that is what it is all about, at least for me.

Stay in touch. Connect!


P.S. There is absolutely nothing in this post that connects to the first time Alvie Singer meets Annie Hall.

4 thoughts on “My Holding Pattern

  1. This post is so amazing! I suffer from anxiety on a daily basis & I know the feeling that you described in the first paragraph. It can be scary to break your pattern, but something good may come along in the end. Stay strong Jon! 😃

    Liked by 1 person

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