“The Relief of Deleting”
I am trying to “delete” my fears and anxieties by de-cluttering.
This trip back home now has the feel of the endless vacation. I’ve enjoyed the time with the sister, with whom I took the sisterly Thelma and Louise trip. I’ve enjoyed time with the father and stepmother who both say that I am better than before – “better” meaning more organized, a better listener, not playing the same conversational record again and again. The improvements are slight but at least noticeable to others. Still, now I’m getting bored and a bit cranky, and “better” seems to be fading.
I’ve been going that extra mile to fill in all minutes of the day, scroll down that electronic address book and reconnect with everyone and anyone possible. I will pick up the phone and just call to hear a human voice. I will leave voicemail messages for the sake of feeling like I’ve made a connection, but inside fear and anxiety smolder in the background.
I’ll be 37 this December. I can’t believe it. My 30s are sliding by at Road Runner speed. The gig I have has another year on the contract – what will I do afterwards? I don’t want to live in a country where I’m always reminded that I’m a foreigner. I want to come back, but what if I can’t find anything? What if I never enjoy the milestones of adulthood? What if I’m destined to always sit on the sidelines and watch others update or upgrade their professional and personal statuses? It’s not fair, I think. But who said that life was fair? Sometimes these unanswerable questions will surface during a conversation with a friend or meeting with an acquaintance, and I find myself struggling to stay present in the here and now.
Mid-summer is defined by dog-day afternoons and humidity. But even when the humidity eases after a thunderstorm, I still find myself sweating bullets. I’m convinced it’s in my genes but the father says it’s the beast inside me. “If your thoughts are calm then you will sweat less,” he says. He’s right. Most of the time I’m like a person sitting on the ledge of a skyscraper, always fearful she’ll be pushed over.
I am trying to delete these fears and anxieties by decluttering, per the father’s recommendation. I’ve made little mountains: clothes, mementos from my many travels, love letters from my many ex-boyfriends, towers of files stuffed with research and writing, not to mention the books. I’ve done something that I never thought I could do: I’ve let go and placed them into plastic shopping bags and allowed the garbage truck to take them away. It doesn’t feel like a loss, it feels liberating. With less on the plate, I feel calmer and less inclined to fill each waking minute. The delete button has become my best friend, if only temporarily.