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Monkey Mind

September 10, 2013


I’m a thinker. Correction: I’m an over-thinker. I overanalyze, dissect thoughts and actions, and replay scenarios that have both happened or are on the verge of happening over and over in my mind. This is the simple way of saying I have a monkey mind. Daniel Smith writes all about this notion in his book, Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety. Like him, I’ve found my own prescription to aid in the broken record that sometimes plagues my thoughts. For me, a steady diet of yoga and meditation works wonders for my well-being. Both calm and allow me to think of present tense to help me live a life with deeper connections. In short, it helps me not sweat the small stuff.

But, there are things, currently—big things—that are keeping me awake at night. And so I thought, maybe these things are keeping you up too?

I’m worried about my job, specifically its security. Most of my peers roughly between 2008-now either have been laid off themselves or know someone who has, allowing an influx of freelance workers, much like myself. I’m a member of what is dubbed the creative class; this niche group of folks enjoys the benefits of a flexible schedule but the downsides of being contract (no benefits, month-to-month variances in income, highly competitive market) might be tipping the scale to just go back to work full-time.

Education worries me, not for myself, but my daughter. I live in a city that is currently sifting through the baggage of the public school’s cheating scandal, the largest in our nation’s history. Not a fine moment for either Atlanta or public schools in general. Am I wrong to hope that my child gets a better public education than I got (or at least comparable to) in Leavenworth, Kansas?

This fear monger world we live in has me terrified of the food we put into our bodies. Even what you think is healthy isn’t safe anymore. I just want to eat natural, pure food that doesn’t require an entire paycheck for wholesome stuff.

While we’re on health, I lose sleep over the fact that my twin sister doesn’t have health insurance. On to childcare … huge chunks of my paycheck goes to ensure Margaret is not just passed from swing to play mat as a form of care giving. It’s a bit overwhelming. And lastly, war. Not should we or shouldn’t we, but what are we doing for those who’ve fought and are now returning home. Because as best as I can tell they have more mental injuries than we know what to do with as a country.

So, that’s my monkey mind of the moment. Job security, healthcare, childcare, food systems in the U.S., education, the cost of war, you know, teeny problems. I wish I had a solution to calm these stressors in my head. Hopefully, soon, there will be some peace all around.

Image: Courtesy of Laura Edelbacher