As I rush ahead through my 30s (ahem) quicker than Tim Peake arrived in Space…. my taste in so many things have changed.
One is my choice of radio stations. I’ve clung to radio 1 by the end of the end of my fingernails. How can I be ‘young’ if I can’t chat about Harry or Justin with ‘the kids’? Alas. I now give up. The last straw was when the apparently famous instagram dog Tuna was interviewed recently. Yes. A dog. Was interviewed. I tried Chris over on 2. Even though I’m apparently in the right ‘age bracket’ I feel about 93 as Enya’s Orinoco flows gently through my car speakers.
So. The point I’m coming to is I’ve escaped and turned to radio 4*. It sounds boring perhaps but I’m gaining knowledge!! Humphries bugs me but I’ve more understanding of Syria, a vague idea about this opting in or out business, a slight inkling of what’s going on over in China and also the fuss about oil prices, I’m more worried about the stuff in Korea. Basically I’m feeling all informed and I like it!
Last week there was also a programme looking back at what they did the last time it was a leap year. They had asked their audience ‘to take a leap’ for leap year. I assumed it’d be something literal like throwing yourself out of a plane but I was pleasantly surprised.
The first story was about a guy from Swansea. He’d had to retire early from a professional job due to severe anxiety. His ‘leap’ was to get on a bus. Something he hadn’t done for ten years. I gulped as he narratted his journey. His angst at the bus stop. His fear taking his seat. His elation at getting there. His relief at seeing his wife who waited for him. His tears of joy.
This may have resonated with me more because I was like him once. Over 20 yrs ago I avoided buses. Not just buses but the cinema and even supermarkets at one point. In fact most places that I’d feel confined in. Hardly anyone knew that I suffered severe panic attacks in my late teens and early 20s. I was a master at managing to avoid most triggers. It lasted about 5 years.
I’m told at times I can be too open when I write but for me it’s important. When I tried to talk about my panic attacks I was told not to think about it and also this … you don’t want to go down that road.
Like I didn’t know that. I didn’t want it. I wanted help.
After that I decided not to talk about it. That doesn’t work.
One day I leapt. All the way to Australia for 12 months. On my return I leapt again, this time as a mature student to college. It was while studying A level Psychology I learnt about our internal involuntary response to perceived danger. Fight or flight. There and then I made sense of my panic. I controlled it instead of it controlling me. I’m fortunate not to have had any panic attacks since. Like most fears though it does lurk.
Getting on a bus may not seem like a leap to some but it can be a gigantic jump for many. And that’s what we’re all doing isn’t it. Some of us would never even think twice that getting on a bus could be something anxious. For others it seems impossible.
We all have our internal worries. As goes that famous quote circulating …. everyone is fighting their own battle inside. The important thing is to keep fighting.
This February perhaps we could all take a leap. It could be a huge leap or a little one. You could face your fear or you could just decide to do that thing you’ve been putting off.
Whatever it is I think taking a leap can only mean one thing. You’re moving forward.
*I also listen to my own music like Muse and Paloma so am still entirely ‘cool’!