How I Float When I Need To Land

December 31, 2017, I stood in that wine and champagne aisle at the grocery store and Googled "what does extra dry champagne mean" (I still don't understand, and ended up getting prosecco anyways).

The acquired prosecco was drunk about twenty minutes after 2018 rattled down upon the eastern time zone. The midnight moment crashed into me as I realized in that very second, I had procrastinated too much and missed an important deadline.

I entered 2018 in a shame spiral.

“The thing about a spiral is, if you follow it inward, it never actually ends. It just keeps tightening, infinitely.”
–John Green, Turtles All The Way Down

John Green's 2017 masterpiece made me more aware of my own spirals. While I devoured his other books in a matter of days, Turtles dragged out over the course of maybe four months (still a record for me reading an unassigned, fun book while in college, but that's a tangent for another time). Simply put, Aza's spirals are different in content than mine, but we both slide down to the same source: fear.

I float because I fear.

There's this hilarious sitcom on ABC called The Middle, and while I'm not caught up on the most recent season, a constant theme has always been how the family "floats" responsibilities or milestones to another date in the future in order to avoid dealing with whatever situation arises in the present.

I float folding my laundry to sometimes a week or two later because I don't feel like doing it. I float making plans with friends because I'm worried about having enough time to finish a fairly easy homework assignment. I float picking up an extra shift at work because I don't know if I will recharge my introverted mental capacity in time.

I float pursuing opportunities that will take me small steps closer to my dream career and ideal life because I'm afraid that I will fail.

“I'm in orbit like a jet pilot, ain't no gravity to try to fight it. It's how we float.”
–Switchfoot, "Float"

(Okay, I know that song isn't saying that it's a bad thing to float. It actually has a really beautiful meaning that you can read about here. But just bear with me as I take this out of context for the sake of a metaphor because this line of the song runs through my head every time I realize I’m floating.)

I know my floating spirals won't untangle and descend with a simple, but passionate, flip of a calendar. Life is in flux, with moments of clarity and moments of chaos. But maybe, by learning to float less, the moments of chaos will decrease.

“Spirals grow infinitely small the farther you follow them inward, but they also grow infinitely large the farther you follow them out.”
–John Green, Turtles All The Way Down

I recently found out that the deadline I missed on New Year’s Eve was irrelevant. I was so broken up about my shortcomings in this moment, but in the end, it did not matter. Fear causes me to see problems as worse than they really are. Fear magnifies every possibility into a worst-case scenario.

I’ve tried to float less since the beginning of the year. I turned in assignments a few days early. I started working on papers before the week they are due. I even folded my laundry on the same day it came out of the washer and dryer—well, for a solid few weeks at least.

“Your now is not your forever.”
–John Green, Turtles All The Way Down

It’s important to remember that fear is temporary. So as one orbit around the sun ends and another begins, my fear-fueled orbit gets smacked out of place by a little bit of gravity called trust.

I float because I fear.

I land because I don't have to.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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