I let it live inside me nameless and orphaned, believing that one day it would perish from a kind of starvation. But in my busy, distracted, life I did not recognize that its voice had become mine; that my longing for more movement, activities, and accomplishments wasn’t a wholesome appetite for self-improvement. It was the voice of anxiousness, which soon became the voice of self-doubt, which became the source of a near-crippling depression. It hadn't died in the darkness, oh, that sick thing, there it thrived.

It ate at me the way termites devour logs. Outwardly, I appeared unblemished while my core was made cavernous and hallowed. The termites are gone now. The only threat is reinfestation. As I am left assessing the damage.

How did this anxiousness so casually metastasize itself to my mind, lace its timbre to my every thought? From where did it enter and quietly reside? I see many possibilities, none more apparent than my belief that "life is short."

Anxiousness responds to scarcity with panic. It believes there's no time to relax or meander, no time for mistakes or residing in the void. It is a voice of busyness. Go. Do. Move. NOW! Untamed anxiety rattles the body ceaselessly, reducing it to a literal nervous system. These nerves are essential for maintaining wellbeing. They signal when to embrace a thing, when to proceed with caution, when to rest. But when revved, these nerves no longer communicate anything comprehensible. The signals are indiscernible from the noise. Meanwhile, the nerves continue to vibrate louder and more frequently, crescendoing into chaos. Ironic, when you remember that "chaos" is derived from the Greek khaos, meaning ‘vast chasm, void’.

Still, mortality remains. But that not need to make life short. Or by any means insignificant. If the value of life were a measure of time spent then no human could achieve the worth of a 250 year-old mussel. This is in fact anxiety’s taunt. It bemoans time's lessening, and implores its host to maximize time, to live 300 hundred years in under 100. Then, and only then, anxiety declares, will you prove yourself valuable.

But that is foolish, outlandish, to believe that I, or anyone, can make life more valuable. It is a thing to harbor. The value of life comes pre-loaded, waiting for us to savor. And it's not in anything I do, but whatever I get to experience. Those briefest, most serendipitous, of moments which nullify time, and we could relive forever. Short? No, life is abundant.

So, what I'm saying is name your demons. Nothing pretty. Something standard, like Chad. Now, excuse me while I go bury Chad.

Share this post