It’s OK to be happy with a calm life

It’s 5am on a Sunday morning. This weekend has gone the way most of my weekends do these days – run the required errands, sometimes do a little shopping and return to my safe place. It is the middle of a long, cold, snowy winter after all. I’ve had manageable anxiety my entire life up until 2.5 years ago when I had my first serious anxiety attack. I thought I was dying. I couldn’t catch my breath, broke out in a sweat, had chest pain, felt sick to my stomach and was so dizzy I could barely walk. My husband took me to the ER. We were both terrified. Since that day, I’ve lived my life in fear that I will have another attack like that but in public. More specifically, at work or in a store. I spend my nights thinking about how I’m going to get through these situations, which is why I’ve been up all night. My husband and I have been together for 10 years and married for 3. 3 years ago we decided that we were going to forego a traditional wedding and spend the money on our dream wedding and dream vacation. We got married on the Big Island of  Hawaii and fell in love with it. Not just because everyday looks like a page out of a travel magazine, but the culture was amazing and the energy I felt when I was there was unbelievable. The way of life is minimalist. There is an emphasis on truly just being happy. The scenery is so natural and untouched it’s remarkable. I feel most at peace when I’m in nature. Sitting by a waterfall in the middle of a tropical forest or watching the sunset from the beach does wonders for someone with a mind like me. I’ll never forget the way that island made me feel. We also visited Oahu, which is just as beautiful but more commercialized. Pearl Harbor was emotional and seeing real surfers on the North Shore was cool (I’m from Buffalo, NY ok?). The city of Honolulu is one of the cleanest cities I’ve ever seen. Not to mention beautiful (only in Hawaii can brick and mortar buildings with a few palm trees be considered beautiful to me). The moral of this story is that we are going back to the islands (this time Kauai and Maui) in 8 days and I’ve been up all night stressing about the flight. More specifically, having an anxiety attack on the flight. 12 hours in the air (5 of which are spent over the Pacific Ocean), 14 total hours of travel. Last time we went I was anxious but survived, even despite the severe turbulence that almost made me get sick on the plane. That was also before I had the worst anxiety attack of my life, which occurred about 10 months after we returned. I’ve flown all my life. I’ve done this flight once I know I can do it again. As a precaution, my doctor prescribed me a few Xanax to take if needed (if it gets to the point I start to embarrass my husband…who is a saint for putting up with my antics) but my goal is to not take them. I hate taking meds but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. And that is OK. I can do this. I just need to stop watching the news – every night there’s a flight horror story about a plane that disappeared over the ocean, a plane that went down, severe turbulence, a man having a heart attack….anyway, I digress. What is going to happen will happen regardless of how much I worry about it. If I were going anywhere else, I would not be willing to fly for 12 hours. It’s what’s on the other side that makes this worth it. The feeling of relief I’ll have once I get there after making it through will make it worth it. I can’t let my anxiety dictate my life and the only way you can do that is by pushing your boundaries.For someone who leads a calm life, a trip like this is a big deal. The point I wanted to make here is that it’s ok to not have much going on in your life if it makes you happy. I’m happy with the quiet simple life I’ve come to have since my life changed a couple years ago. I don’t feel a void when I see or hear about others who spent their weekend partying it up with a big group of people. That’s never been my scene anyway but as an introvert with an extrovert husband I often found myself in those situations, which I never minded just didn’t prefer. I need to stop worrying about this trip and start getting excited for what’s to come. 8 days!!

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