Separation Anxiety as a 20-something

From anxietyuk.org.uk

To say it’s been a whirlwind of a week would be an understatement. This time last week, we wrapped up summer theatre school at LCT. We cleaned and organized the building on Monday and Tuesday, I packed up my life (again) on Wednesday, and I moved to St. Louis yesterday. I start my new job with Metro Theater Company on Monday.

I’m excited. I’m nervous. I’m impatient. I’m anxious. I’m nostalgic. I’m loving the freshness of a new place, and I’m aching for the familiarity of Lexington. To sum it all up, I’m just like the sobbing four-year-old on the first day of First Stage Players. Just like they refuse to let go of mom or dad, I’m clinging to my LCT family with a death grip. This family is incredibly special to me, and the organization was the perfect fit for how I want to learn, work and play. But behind the tears, that scared four-year-old is watching the drama class begin. They’re interested (excited even!) just like I am about my new job. This new thing in front of me is terrifying, but a big part of me can’t wait to jump in and get started.

The four-year-old and I have to make a sacrifice: leaving mom is hard and sad, and we don’t really want to do it… but the pay off of going to theatre school, or in my case working for Metro, is going to be huge. It’s going to be fun and challenging, and we’re going to learn a lot, but we have to let go of mom first.

Luckily for us both, we will see mom again. Even though there is a legitimate element of grief involved, no one is dying. We’re not really losing anything. Not forever. The experience of yet another amazing summer working for and with people who challenge, excite and inspire me is over. There is some sadness in that. But the summer was always going to end. And I get to bring that experience with me wherever I go. I am a stronger, more confident teaching artist because of that experience, and I will always have that.

Transitions are hard. Every time I move to a new place, I expect it to be easier. But adjusting to a new environment is a process, and time is the only cure for all that anxiety that comes with the excitement. The last two years of my life have been full of transitions. But it’s still a difficult process. Whenever I get overwhelmed, I remember how important it is to find the positives. For example: I’m in a new place, where I don’t know many people. BUT the ones I do know have been incredibly warm and welcoming, all of them eager to help with whatever I need. I take that as a very good sign for how the season is going to go.

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