Today I was going to post about my financial goals for 2018, but I’ve got something on my mind that I just want to get off my chest. I’ll get to my financial goals tomorrow (because a. I’m excited about them and b. I said I would), but for today I’d like to get a little philosophical.
Have you seen Patton Oswalt’s new Netflix special, “Annihilation”? If not, you should. Oswalt is an outstanding comedian, and his performance in “Annihilation” is no exception. It’s also his first performance since the death of his first wife, Maureen McNamara. The whole show is at turns funny, heartfelt, brutal, tender and heartbreaking.
One thing that has stuck with me since watching it came toward the end of the special, when he talks about something Maureen used to say: “It’s chaos. Be kind.”
It’s chaos. Be kind.
As a woman on the internet, I’m vulnerable. People aren’t going to like the opinions I have (I get it). Some people aren’t going to like that I’ve got opinions at all. Some people are going to be nasty for no other reason than that they can.
I’m under no delusion that everything I do is “brave.” That’s really not the point of this space. I’m not going to write about my next long run and marvel at my own courage. I’m not going to eat a salad or save $100 and exclaim at my fortitude.
What I want to champion here is how all the little things, how going after what you want (even when it’s scary or you’ve been told you can’t) — that all adds up to bravery. Sometimes living your life is brave.
I live with anxiety. I’m working toward being comfortable talking about it, and the more I do, the more free I am. But for the longest time that anxiety, that fear, held me back. I had my first panic attack two weeks before delivering my capstone presentation for grad school. I had a series of them in 2016 that seriously affected my ability to do my job.
Setting goals, even those seemingly small ones, helps me manage and combat my anxiety. Every time I achieve something, it’s a little “Take that!” to the part of my brain that wants to curl up and hide.
So does doing a Whole30 make me “brave?” Probably not. But doing a Whole30… and running a half marathon… and building financial security… and taking control of my career… and learning new skills… all while managing my mental health and dealing with unsolicited criticism from virtual strangers? When sometimes all I want to do is lie on the couch in my bathrobe?
Maybe just a little brave.
You don’t know what other people are going through.
It’s chaos. Be kind.