I hang up the phone after talking to Amma and turn around when I hear the shrill insistent ring again. “I wonder what she forgot,” I mutter as I pick the phone and am surprised to hear my sister on the other end. We chat for ten minutes mostly because I am in the mood to talk and I insist she has a blow by blow account of my day. She claims my mom is calling her and hangs up and I smile.
I have grown up seeing my mom and her sister talk on the phone for hours on end. Sometimes they would exchange salacious gossip, sometimes it would be a purgatory of sorts with each of them confessing to anxiety, sorrow and dark, twisty things. Most days would be like mine today, an inane account of each of their days complete with details on every meal made.
In my twenties, my future mirrored what I had seen. Whole intact families, little to worry about other than occasional work related woes and perhaps a health complaint or two. Life changing events happened to others. Divorce, widowhood, barrenness, spinsterhood, extra marital affairs were all tidbits to be exchanged, mulled about and left behind because it did not involve anyone in the family. In my forties, I realize that these things happen to us. Our friends pass away. People who mean a great deal to me struggle with single parenthood. Infertility has marked my life and my innermost circle leaving behind scars that will last this lifetime. When I meet friends once in a few years, we sit in the dark, pillows clutched to our chests laying bare problems with our progeny, with our spouses.
I suspect my sixties will bring with it experience I will not care for. I shudder to think of terminal illness and sudden loss of lives. There are other things I fear so much that I cannot print the words out. Yet, a part of me knows that these things do not happen just to others. They will happen in ways that will touch me, will mark me for life. I look at how tenaciously I hold on to relationships, to people and sometimes feel despondency descend on me. I breathe in and out, consciously choosing to relax my grip, to set expectations of reality. To prepare myself for the horrors yet to unfold. Some part of me also believes that letting the words out will nullify those fears and bring them to naught.
Tell me my friends, do you experience anxiety like I do? What do you do to deal with it?