Better Problems

This is a mind game I play with myself to put things in perspective. As we get caught up in what we strive towards we forget that we actually advance. Often changes come increment by increment, so gradually we might not see them.

Anxiety changes shape. Most certainly it will be with us all our life. Anxiety is not all bad because it makes us do good too but it is when it becomes too much of it that it tips over to the bad side. It is not constructive anymore. Anyway, that is a different text I am writing but it is important in this text as well because this is what I want to look at. Anxiety moves with us, but what we worry about is different during different phases in our lives. The change in problems is interesting to look at.

For example, when I applied to art and design school I was extremely worried I wouldn’t be able to complete the application on time and do so correctly. I worked intensely. The closer the deadline the narrower my tunnel vision got. I finished on time, I sent in my application files correctly, but each morning the week after I woke up from nightmares of having made an error somewhere. I got an email that said I had been chosen to come for the interview, which was a success (!). My anxiety went through the roof. The week before the interview I prepared but it did not decrease the amount of self doubt I felt. A few weeks later I got an email saying I was accepted. I couldn’t believe it. I took screenshots of the green letters saying ’Accepted’. The week that followed I signed in every day to make sure it was true. Now in school I worry about how well I am doing each assignment. I want to do my best and grow. I worry about the upcoming courses too because most of the subjects are completely new to me, and future applications for a potential semester abroad floats around in my mind and scares me a bit.

This is when I need to stop myself. I look back at the application process and see that the anxiety was there because it meant so much to me and my anxiety is here now because I want to do my very best. The worries I have reflect good intensions and values, ”To put in my best effort” and so on, but they get in the way for me to appreciate the process and the change in problems. First, my problem was the application, then the interview and then school itself. The problems got better. My worries evolved. It is more fun to worry about an assignment in school than ”What if I don’t get accepted!?”.

One persons’ problems are not necessarily more legitimate, important or real than others, but rather that we have different problems and sometimes it is good to see them from another side to understand what position we are in. I think worries, doubts, fears, anxiety will remain through out our lives, which is why it is important to notice and appreciate how they change over time.

I do not know if this sounds pretentious. To me it isn’t. For me this is a tool to appreciate my life and see how lucky I am even though life can be though at times.