I have a pretty severe case of writer’s block. This happens every so often, and the frustration that was once a sure-fire consequence of such writer’s block has lost some of its voltage over the years. But as I sat down to try and think of something to write anyway, it dawned on me how peaceful things were around my house and my neighborhood this morning.
One thing about adulthood is how unpredictable stressors can be. Sometimes it seems like I have stress or anxiety about nothing in particular, but more like it’s the combination of a week’s worth of small frustrations that all come to an amoebic, vague superstress. It’s a stress without portfolio. Just a general feeling that things are behind or lacking or outstanding or important.
But the funny thing about the unpredictability of stressors is that it often leads to an unpredictability in stress relief moments. The sun is up, the weather is mild, I’m the only person in the house who’s awake, and it’s nice knowing I can just kind of…exist for a moment. Nothing else. I don’t want to do anything, just to exist in a moment of stillness. Picture it:
The pink-amber rays of a 7:00 a.m. sun are fighting through the live oaks, pecans, and magnolias down the street. The air is chilly with a little crisp, but it’s the optimistic chill of spring where you know in a few hours things will be much warmer. Birds are gossiping everywhere. Mockingbirds are territorial about where they lay their nest, but they generally are just protecting what they think is theirs. It’s the bluebirds you have to look out for; they will swoop in and try to steal or kill or distract birds and other animals just because they can, but then again it’s fun to watch. Somewhere a few streets back a dog in someone’s backyard is barking at the dog attached by a leash to a fit weekend warrior who’s just trying to get her five miles in before church. Past the trees behind the houses across the street, the auto traffic of a suburban thoroughfare add just a touch of New York City sounds to the neighborhood. For a few minutes, you’re able to just exist. You can revel in your own cosmic smallness. Your problems are put in perspective; just as you are so small compared to ethereal things like the habits of birds and the color of sunshine, so too the amorphous anxiety you went to bed with and woke up with seems just…unimportant.
And you know the anxiety will return at some point. But by then your soul has been recalibrated so as to bear in mind the greater significance of the universe, and you’ll be able to apply this valuable perspective. It will help you identify, prioritize, and solve the problems that led to the stress in the first place. And besides, why not just let Sunday happen? Monday is the perfect day to start solving problems. Sunday is for taking in the peace and quiet, and allowing yourself to just be the small bit of matter you are in the grand scheme of things.