I’m lucky that anxiety hasn’t been a real struggle in my life so far. I’ve been mostly able to channel it into motivation or deal with it in other healthy ways through high school, college and the first half of my YAV year.
That is still true to an extent but I feel like it is slipping away from me a little as I move into the back half of the year. I came into this experience expecting, and even hoping for, challenges. I’ve lived a privileged life and even while I give up some creature comforts for a year of service, I still approach life from a place of privilege in race, wealth and class. Regardless, the world around me feels very unsettled as of late. That comes partly from the political climate. Partly from being sick the first week back from Christmas. Partly from the state of Global climate change. Partly homesick. Partly because I will most likely be moving into a new house in Miami, quite far from work and I’ll have to learn a new neighborhood and new roommates. Partly from being so often alone and sometimes lonely here.
The challenges I am facing aren’t what I anticipated. I thought I’d be challenged to live with others and their conflicting way of life, not the opposite. I thought my work would be hard not the source of stability it has become for me.
I don’t write this to make anyone feel sorry for me, just out of a desire to reflect an accurate picture of my experience. Overall, I’m doing really well. I signed up for a year of growth and challenge and some days I am VERY aware of that fact.
I do write this to question what you do when you feel overwhelmed, homesick or lonely. Any suggestions?
For me, it often helps to mentally list what I have accomplished. I made it through a unexpected hurricane and then the departure of my fellow YAV. I’ve survived also 6 months on the stipend and grocery budget. (I’ve gone 3 months in row without going over budget!) I’ve found a loving community at Riviera Presbyterian and supportive and helpful colleagues at Riverside House.
It’s important to make active steps to make change in the world so I’ve attended some meetings of the Citizens Climate Lobby which tries to take political action to protect the environment and stopping Global Climate Change.
I also take time for self care. I’ve cut back on how much NPR I listen to. I need a balance betweening witnessing the world’s problems to stay engaged and limiting the amount of Trump in my life for my own sanity. So I’m opting instead for audiobooks, especially familiar ones I loved as a teen. I try to reach out when I feel lonely to my friends from college and those still in Greenville as their own changes happen. It also seems like my hardest days are the ones where I’ve skipped exercising a few days in a row so a power walk around the nearby Marlin’s stadium can cheer me up.
If I had to give a theme to the year so far, it would Transition.
It looks like that theme will continue but I hope I find the strength to keeping facing it.