I walked my son to school today. He walked along the icy sidewalk as I walked on the salted road. I like the feel of the road beneath my boots, the stability, and security it offers. I like knowing that the ground beneath me won’t betray me at any moment and send me flying. I watch as my son walks one foot in front of the other, slowly and tentatively. Making sure to gauge each step before taking the other. I don’t have patience for this. I want to walk at whatever pace I choose with the knowledge that I am safe.
Adam Grant is an organizational psychologist who studies how people find motivation and meaning. I’ve copied and pasted his title here to make myself seem legitimate when quoting sources but I’m not quite sure what any of it means. It sounds like a Masters in Anxiety and I already have a Ph.D. in that so not sure what the hype is here. Regardless, he continuously says things that I swear he has taken from the deepest recesses of my brain and phrases them in little ‘aha’ nuggets. It was he who gave us an adjective other than shit, to describe how we are feeling during the pandemic. “Languishing. A sense of stagnation and emptiness, the neglected middle child of mental health.”: The reason it takes two weeks to do laundry, the reason you sit at the computer with a coffee ready to do work and find an hour has passed and you’ve done little more than stare outside the window lost in an imaginary world of what-ifs and finally thinking of comebacks to everyone who has ever wronged you from grade one and on.
Languishing offers a poetic ring to something that feels to me like stuckedness. The feeling of being stuck and feeling anxious about being stuck but also not knowing where to go. It’s the gum on the bottom of your shoe that just won’t come off and keeps you locked in place. You know all the Pinterest hacks to get it off, peanut butter, ice etc. But you just can’t bring yourself to actually do it. You see the next step in front of you, free of any emollient on your shoes, but just can’t take that next step.
I’ve spoken about this so much that it feels passe at this point. This feeling of raw stuckedness and poetic languishing. Part of the solution may be to actually read the Adam Grant book my fiance bought me but that just seems logical so I’ll pass on that.
I remember being pregnant and being absolutely terrified of giving birth. In a moment of clarity, I said to myself ‘I don’t have to be ready to give birth now, I only have to be ready to be pregnant.’ Birth will eventually come but to spend nine months worrying about it sounded like a lot of work to me and pregnancy had me a walking zombie. The winter months feel like an incubation period for so many aspects of life. Animals hibernating, oversized coats disguising pregnancies and last nights chinese food baby alike. I don’t know if this is my incubation or feigned denial. I know that as I interview for job after job without employment offers, it seems the universe is pushing me in a direction I am petrified to take but seems like the only choice. It’s the step beyond the stuckedness. I’m not exactly sure what it looks like and I have no idea how to get there and the fear it induces is enough to have me reorganize my entire house. Literally. I took apart my closet in an effort to reorganize it because if I can’t figure out my own life then by damnit, at least I will figure out this closet!
This post doesn’t have much of a point. These are just feelings my soul needed out. I am sharing it in the hopes that SEO does its job and using Adam Grant’s name will drive more traffic to my site. But also, because people are far more alike than not. And If I’m feeling this, then somewhere someone else is too. So this one’s for us. The stuck, the languished, the tired, the anxious and the hopeful.