Dying Daily #116: Action Against Despair

Action is the antidote to despair.

Joan Baez

This is one of the truest true things I know. I remember having this quote on my wall back when I lived in College Station, but I have a hunch it was just because I liked pithy quotes, not because I understood it.

Things are overwhelming a lot of the time.

Personally, I get anxiety at the beginning of any new project or undertaking, sometimes at the beginning of a busy day. Things look very messy and hard to understand when you are seeing them as a whole, especially if they are part of something brand new.
Think of building something from IKEA or some other store. When you first open the box there are all these parts and all this hardware, and none of it makes sense and there is so much chaos. Everything is a mess and it doesn’t seem like it will work out.
The same can be said for most home projects, doing your taxes, taking a new class, planning a trip, starting a new relationship, anything really.

The beginning is always tough.

For some things, the middle and the end and everything in between is tough too.

This stops a lot of people. They get overwhelmed and throw up their hands and just stop, and this is the worst thing they could do.
When you stop moving, this thing that you need to deal with looms off to the side of your brain, picking at you and harassing you with vague threats about how it’s all going to turn out. It haunts with thoughts of impending deadlines and doom and you get to be where you don’t even want to think about it or see anything that reminds you of it.
Despair.
What do we need to do in these situations?
Something.
Anything that will give us even the tiniest bit of traction on the problem.
Read the directions and sort out the pieces. Look up a Youtube video on the project and get a handle on what the whole thing looks like. Start gathering the information you need for your taxes, look over the syllabus and buy your books, go talk to the person about what needs to be talked about.

Just doing something, even something small, will make you feel better.

You’ll start to build momentum, and before long it’s not an unfinished task you are ignoring, but a project you are leaning in to and accomplishing. It’s something new you are cultivating, a new skill you are developing.

Think of something looming in your life.

Take one step on doing something about it.

Then another one.

Do something.

Just don’t do nothing.