“Wait, you have anxiety?” One of the hikers from the group that I was socially distancing with turned to look at me.
“Yeah,” I said, readjusting the supplies in my bag to adjust for the camel pack’s shift in weight. “I actually have terrible anxiety.”
It was true, and if I weren’t so insanely stubborn, my anxiety would be debilitating. I suffered from constant panic attacks that hit full swing at the height of California’s stay at home order. I had been getting by with hiking and camping and doing all sorts of very random things (like that one time I tried Capoeira) for so long that I hadn’t dealt with my anxiety. That was until COVID-19.
The pandemic shook things up and made me face myself. There was literally nowhere else to go but inward to take up a journey of reflection. Stripped of everything else, I got to see who I truly was as a person. My personality isn’t 80 percent anxiety and 20 percent the outdoors. I never realized how much more than that I was.
Yesterday, I woke up to the warm rays of sunshine pouring through my windows. It was the early portion of the nautical sunrise—that cool moment of gentle dark blue skies when the small birds in nearby trees begin to sing. I love waking up that way, without an alarm clock in front of a clear view of my favorite mountain range of all of California framed by a large window. My jaw drops every time as I let the cat out of the apartment onto the balcony, and then back in, and then back out again a few seconds later.
I swear that cat is watching the sunrise along with me as I water the miniature Amazon Rainforest on my balcony. I manage to grab my hiking buff cloth and squeeze in a two-mile run before yoga and then my daily morning meeting for work.
I sometimes look in the background of my own camera feed on my video conference call to see that I have forgotten to roll up my yoga mat. As I do, I realize that I’m usually always in an overly fantastic mood when I see the mat lying there. Everything suddenly stopped feeling like “work-work.”