Early last week, I took my kids to the dentist for their 6 month check ups. Afterwards, there was a promised stop at Starbucks for breakfast and we began making our way toward drop offs at three different schools.
High school was closest and our first stop. Then we took the youngest to her elementary school. And, finally the middle and I set off for middle school. As we got closer, I saw one of our favorite parks.
I got quiet and my daughter instantly read my thoughts. (I do believe that’s one of her super powers!)
“Mom, what are you considering?” she asked with a smile in her voice.
“Hey, do you want to go to Maymont instead of school? I mean, what class are you missing right now? “ I said half joking, half serious.
“Science”, she responded, “but I’m ahead on my work and wouldn’t be missing anything.”
We laughed while I kept driving toward school, but then turned on my blinker and pulled into the park.
We both smiled big and talked about how we used to come here all the time when she & her sisters were little.
“How about we run around for about 20 minutes? That work for you?”
“Yes! Let’s go!”
I let Z choose where she wanted to go. We visited with the donkeys, goats and bunnies. Walked past the cows, moo’ed loudly to get their attention and spotted deer hiding in the meadow. The weather was gorgeous, so at some point we kicked off our shoes and enjoyed the feeling of bare feet on the warm ground.
We found the statue that the kids always climbed on when they were tiny, took it upon ourselves to climb it again and took photos. I sent a picture of Z laying on the park bench to her Dad, saying, “Science class is the best!”
When it was time to go, I got a big hug from my girl.
“This was awesome, Mom!” she said.
“It was awesome. I love getting spontaneous time with my girl – and, well, sometimes you’ve just got to break the rules a little.”
“I’ll remind you of that quote when I’m older! “
With anxiety, sometimes it’s important to let loose and break the rules as well. What kind of rules do you set for yourself? You know the ones you create in your head to create the illusion of protection:
*I’m safe if I drive in the right hand lane, but might freak out if I get stuck in the fast lane
*Movie theaters are ok, but only if I get the aisle seat.
*Glass elevators are pretty safe, but I take stairs in all other situations, unless for some reason my anxiety is low and I’m feeling particularly confident.
*Yes to lunch dates as long as I can hide in a group.
*I’ll only fly if I have a few drinks ahead of time.
This week, why not experiment with breaking the rules? Get curious. What happens when you do the opposite of what anxiety tells you to do? Drive in that middle lane. Say yes to lunch with a friend. Release into the swell of adrenaline instead of tensing up to fight it. Keep going instead of running away.
It’s time to live a bigger life and break the rules. Join me?