Today probably you’re a bit anxious, maybe about some work you have to finish, people you have to see, some chores you’ve neglected. Anxiety often appears to be about particular things promising us that if only they can be overcome we’ll reach a stage of long-lasting, serenity and security but really if we’re frank about how we function. The problem really seems larger and more fundamental beyond any specific thing we happen to be worrying about looked at over time with simply anxious to our core in the very basic makeup of our being though. We may focus day to day on this or that particular worry creating static in our minds.
What we’re really up against is anxiety as a permanent feature of life something irrevocable, existential dogged and responsible for ruining a dominant share for brief time on earth. Tortured by anxiety we naturally fall prey to some powerful fantasies about what might finally bring us calm at certain points especially in the north. The fantasies latch on to travel here at last there would be peace under the clear blue sky on the island eleven and a half hours from here seven time zones away with a warm water lapping at our feet and with access to a seaside villa.
It’s just a matter of holding on for a few more months and parting with an extraordinary sum or perhaps we’d be calm if the house could be really as we want it with everything in its place. No more clutter pristine, walls ample cupboards stripped oak, limestone or perhaps we’ll be calm when one day we reach the right place in a company, well the novelist sold of the film is made while our shares are worth hundreds of millions and we can walk into a room full of strangers and they’ll know at once who we are or and this one we might keep more private.
There might be calm if we have the right sort of person in our lives someone who could properly understand us, creature with who make don’t be so difficult we’ll be kind and playful and sympathetic with a thoughtful compassion of eyes and in whose arms we could lie in peace almost like a child’s blow. Not quite travel homes status love the four great contemporary ideals around which fantasies of can collect. Yet despite the promises and the passion expended in the pursuit of these goals none of them work, there’ll be anxiety at the beach in a pristine home after the sale of the company and in the arms of anyone you could ever seduce. Anxiety is a fundamental state for well-founded reasons because we’re intensely vulnerable physical beings with complicated network of fragile organs.
All biding their time before eventually letting us down catastrophically. Because we’ve got insufficient information upon which to make most major life decisions we’re steering more or less blind because we can imagine so much more than we have and live in mediatized societies where envy and restlessness is always a constant because with the descendants of the great warriors of the species the others have you been trampled and torn apart by wild animals and because we still carry in our bones into the calm of the suburbs the terrors of the Savannah.
All of which isn’t to say that there are better or worse ways to approach anxiety a single most important move is to accept that will always be anxious. There’s no need on top of everything else to be anxious that we’re anxious. The mood is no sign that our lives have gone wrong merely that we’re alive so we should be more careful,when pursuing things we imagine will spare us anxiety we can pursue them by all means but for other reasons than fantasies of calm and with perhaps a little less vigor and a little more skepticism.
We should also spare ourselves the burden of loneliness, we’re far from the only ones with this problem. Everyone’s more anxious than they’re inclined to,even the tycoon and the couple in love are suffering we’ve collectively failed to admit to ourselves what we truly like, we should learn to laugh about our anxieties. Laughter being the exuberant expression of relief when a hitherto private agony is given a well-crafted social formulation in a joke and lastly we should hug not the forced intimacy of most modern hugs but the melancholy sympathetic way. Botticelli’s Angels do it having come down to earth to offer comfort to humans, for the brute facts of earthly existence,we must suffer alone but we can at least, hold out our arms to our similarly tortured fractured and above all else,anxious neighbors as if to say in the kindest way possible I know, you.