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Re-Entry Anxiety: You’re Not Alone

by Tammi Leader
 ∙ Apr 26 ∙ 6 Min Read

Last March, without any warning, our entire life came to a screeching halt and that, in and of itself, is extraordinary…But a wilder truth? Those who’ve survived it, have actually had the opportunity to grow as we’ve learned how to adapt to life as we had never known it before.

Now, more than a whole year later, as our world is cracking open and some light is starting to come in a few windows, why are we so afraid to come out and play?

Many of us have already been vaccinated or on the road to building our immunity, and have been chomping at the bit to return to “normal” (if there even is such a thing), but something keeps telling us to just stay put. What’s up with that?

Therapists in our Campowerment arsenal say: so many of us are shifting in a huge way right now, along with many parts of our life that we thought were supposed to be ours forever, for better or worse, just because they always have been. There are some things we are never going back to, so that phrase, “a new day is dawning” has never rung more true. Joanna Kleinman, Psychotherapist and Bestselling Author, says…

“This new awakening is bringing with it some pretty heavy, confusing frenetic energy, because when we enter the unknown, we get crazy.”

For the past year, we’ve narrowed our circles down to those who believe like we do. And now that life is opening up and our choices are diversifying, we are feeling pulled: while we do want to hug our friends loved ones, really, we just want to stay put, because that feels safer than venturing out into a world that is now, in some ways, so unsure. And all of these feelings: well…they’re scary AF.

Joanna says we all have some work to do before we can emerge from our cocoons in a way that will make us comfortable. 

“The pandemic gave everyone* the opportunity to press pause and ask ourselves, ‘Do I really want to invest in relationships I’ve been more than fine without over the past year?’ 2020 taught us so much about what we are willing to tolerate moving forward. We have no time to waste anymore,** especially when it comes to people we now realize don’t deserve us, or we didn’t even miss. Now is when you need to be in serious self-protection mode, and much more guarded than you’ve ever been, about what you are willing and not willing to do anymore, as we come out of this.”

It all comes down to setting new boundaries: “First, it’s finding some new tools to help you to step more into what you want for yourself, moving forward. And to constantly ask yourself, ‘is this worth my time?’ This old idea of not wanting to disappoint anyone is now forcing you to have honest conversations with yourself, about what is right and good and true for you, as opposed to everyone else, many of whom no longer really matter to you.” 

It’s not easy, but it’s absolutely necessary if you want to come out of this a more evolved, happier human. And you can. And you will, because you made it through the past year, with all its unforeseen and unexpected circumstances, even when you had no idea how you were going to balance working full-time from home, becoming your kids’ teacher (including the times you became viscerally aware that the new common core math is harder to learn than Mandarin) and the community peacekeeper and the Executive Chef of your pod, while stepping into a superhuman version of yourself, trying to keep everyone upbeat and positive, even with the constant fear of death hanging over all our heads. 

Joanna has s’more insight:

“Let’s start by giving ourselves the credit we deserve, to look and back and say WOW. I was able to deal w life when it showed up in an unexpected way. If we could get through the uncertainty of this last year, then what’s to stop us from trying new things?  If we can appreciate who we’ve been and how we’ve shown up during the pandemic, and we can redefine what we once considered to be failure, what else is possible?”

Winston Churchill once said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm” Our ability to blow the lid off what we thought was possible can give us the ability to practice for the uncertainty, failure, and discomfort over what may come next. And that’s actually a good thing.

What would happen if you just stopped future-tripping and figured it out as you go? Like you did in 2020?

Got an idea or two or three you are pondering for your future? No need to wait until it’s fully baked to bring it to life. Stop waiting for perfection. It’s never coming. The time is now, my friends.

“It’s less about your conscious attention and more about your higher intention.” – Joanna Kleinman

If what you water, put sunlight on, and pull weeds from, will help make your garden grow, think about the seeds you want to plant, and get them into the ground already. 

This re-emergence is not happening in one day; it will take time, during which you can figure it all out as your new garden begins to grow. The rest will come as it is ready to. Until then, try swapping out fear of re-emerging with this thought: What if the best really is yet to come? 

You might miss it if you’re still inside watching the modified Oscar Highlights…

See you out there!! From the campfire & beyond…

*Disclaimer: this blog post is speaking to a lifestyle well above the threshold of a privileged life. We should all be aware of the luxury we have by worrying about things outside of food, shelter, health, et al
**We never did; now we realize it!

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