Over the 4th of July week, Anthony and I went to San Francisco for a summer vacation. It was exciting, interesting, and overall relaxing. Yet, there were still episodes of stress and anxiety that threw me off guard. I got upset as I navigated our rental car through the hills of Pacific Heights, fretted as we tried to find parking in Chinatown, and fumed as we bought BART tickets. I had a small meltdown on Pier 39 about where to buy our chowder bread bowl (I know). Far worse, on Monday morning I believed that it was Tuesday until about 1pm – my anxiety had lost me a whole day. I was supposed to leave these emotions and reactions behind in Austin! Wasn’t 1700 miles far enough? Why couldn’t I just relax?? I was on vacation dammit! ARGURGHGRH!
…except for the BART tickets, I was able to stop my anxiety spirals fairly quick. Catch myself, breath, feel the SF wind on my face (SO MUCH WIND), and give myself space to respond rationally. Because finding the right roads through a major city that you’ve never been to before? That’s difficult. Ditto parking in a major tourist zone. Pier 39? Mucho overwhelming. I reminded myself that I didn’t have to be instantly great at it. To just take each day, experience, and moment for what it was: something new during our vacation. As I learn how to be more honest and friendly with myself, I recognize my stress, give myself a hug, and imagine the fear evaporating off of me. Because fear was behind my anxieties: fear of looking like a tourist,of not getting to experience ‘everything’, of having to go back to work, of getting lost. But noticing those fears, and hugging and loving the girl having those fears, helped them to float away.
Ultimately, it was a great trip, and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to take it in and enjoy friends and family!