About Me

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My interests include veganism and vegetarianism, health, ethics, politics and culture, media, and the environment. I have three kids; I teach college part-time, study piano and attempt to garden. I knit. I blog on just about anything, but many posts are related to my somewhat pathetic quest to eat better, be more mindful of the environment, and be a more responsible news consumer. Sometimes I write about parenting, but, like so many Mommy bloggers, my kids have recently told me not to. :) Thanks for reading.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


If you were looking for deep thoughts today or something funny and light, I'm afraid this isn't the blog to read. This blog is about anxiety.

I lay awake last night, disturbed by my thoughts of my upcoming trip.

I'm one of those people who always worries -- seriously worries -- before every trip. Will the plane crash? Will I fall asleep at the wheel? Will my luggage get lost? Will my boys decide to play on that tall balcony that I hate so much and will one of them fall off and die? Will I forget to tell the post office to hold the mail? What if I forget to pay all the bills that will come due while I'm away? Did I lock the house? Set the alarm? Will the cat be OK with Mom's kitten while I'm away?

I've always struggled with anxiety, but for the most part, it's pretty much under control UNLESS I'm travelling. Then, stepping out (literally) from my comfort zone, my anxiety resurfaces with an alarming vengence. I start sleeping poorly, thus increasing my odds of being in an accident in the first place, and the knowledge of that only ranks up my anxiety all the more.

I start imagining horrible scenarios, so much so that I always consider cancelling the trip (whether or not tickets are refundable or not, I always consider this). I start getting snappy with everybody, overreacting to small mishaps as if they were catastrophes. My insomnia, of course, also makes me more edgy.

By the time I actually leave, I'm so exhausted that I lack all enthusiasm for said trip. It just feels like a burden. I don't feel like I'm "getting away" from anything; instead, I feel like I'm taking on a dangerous adventure, unfortunately not accompanied by Indiana Jones or James Bond. By the time I finally arrive, the only thought in my mind is to find a place to sleep and dead silence.

I have three kids. One is hyperactive; one is a preschooler, and one is a pre-teen. Dead silence does not exist in my world. Scratch the idea of rest. Family "trips" are just that -- trips, not restful vacations.

I'm about to go on one of those trips. The destination -- Cape Cod -- could not be more bucolic. Except for that damned balcony, the steep bank straight into the pond, and the house that is not kid-friendly. Deep breath. Nobody has died so far. We'll probably all survive again.

But then there's that promise I made my daughter, to drive 300 miles to visit old friends the day after I arrive. I WANT to go; I want to see the people. I just don't want to do the drive alone. Six hundred miles roundtrip, likely while sleep-deprived, is pretty scary. I've looked into other options (bus, train), but the mass transit options from point A to point B are, in this case, time-consuming, more expensive than renting a car, and involve several transfers, not to mention asking people on both ends to take us to a bus station or pick us up from a train station. I'll rent a car and drive instead, thinking the whole time how American mass transit largely SUCKS in comparison to what you see in Europe. And I'll bitch and moan about the traffic on the East coast, which I've lived blissfully without for over a year and have not missed AT ALL.

I will also worry about missing the right exit, or getting it wrong while driving through NYC. (I HATE driving through NYC -- traffic EVERYWHERE, lots of lane changes, dirty, and poorly marked, with exits that come up faster that you anticipate them.) But there's no way to get from Cape Cod to NJ without a NY interlude. Usually, my husband and I rely on the other to help navigate; now it'll just be me. Worry. Worry. Worry.

When the trip is over, I will, as I always do, wish I could have been more relaxed, more carefree, more of a risk-taker, more trusting that the world won't kill my family. I will regret not being able to see more friends that I've missed terribly since our move.

However, I won't feel that I wish the trip itself could have been longer. I know a lot of people feel that way after a vacation. But I can only take so much anxiety. I'm always glad to get back home. :)


  1. I will think good thoughts and hope you find moments of enjoyment and inspiration. Of course your readers hope there will be stories! :-)

  2. Undoubtedly, there will be stories and I'll look back at this blog and think how silly I was to be so worried.

  3. My goodness. That kinda sucks. I've only experienced this on a MUCH smaller scale. Poor Natalie. I've never heard of a grandparent yelling at a grandchild for not making the bed - even when it's not vacation time.

    Perhaps they are getting older and not feeling so well........
    I know in general one is not at one's best when lots of family are sleeping together in the same house. It's a strain on everyone.

    - Nikki


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