I always remember that in Breakfast at Tiffany’s Holly Golightly refers to her bouts of anxiety as the “mean reds”. I like that expression although for me it tends to refer more to bouts of self-doubt, jealousy, anger and anxiety triggered by realizing I’m not where I’d thought I would be at this point in my life (such realizations usually occurring when I learn of something wonderful happening to a friend and feeling happy for them and jealous of their good fortune). I suffered a bout of my own mean reds the other day. They were triggered by the realization that I am no longer the new kid on the block, the new generation of anything or the young turk. I’m not a prodigy anymore. I’m going to be 50 soon and while that doesn’t preclude new and interesting experiences, it does pretty much ensure that opportunities to feel like a young turk will be as rare as hen’s teeth.
I don’t like feeling this way. It makes me uncomfortable with myself and resentful of friends’ successes, which really sucks. So I have decided to take the mean reds by the horns and try to develop a strategy so that I don’t get lost in them. I pulled out my Tarot of the Hidden Realm and asked how to handle bouts of the “mean reds”. I drew the 9 of Cups crossed by the 8 of Cups. My first reaction at seeing the 9 of Cups is that I need to look inside my own heart and see what resides there. What do I truly wish for and desire in my life? Many times I realize that although I’m happy for a friend’s success, I don’t wish to so what she does. That changes the dynamic and shifts my perspective. I’m don’t wish for their success to become my own. I don’t wish I had their lives. I just wish I felt more like a success in my own life. The first step to achieving that would be to look inside my heart and see what I find. Instead of a vague “I wish that was me” type wish, I really wish for success on my terms.
I believe the 8 of Cups is telling me that before I can manifest any wishes or desires in my life, first I need to go on a bit of a quest to see what that would look like for me. There are things I need to let go of, things that I used to enjoy but have now become a distraction. Once I can release those items along with their emotional charge I hope to feel less burdened and freed up to find new joys and new satisfaction with my life. I’m realizing that carrying around all those unfulfilled hopes and dreams is burying me. The only way to free myself from these negative emotions is to simply let life wash them away; let them stay in the past.
At the same time I also believe the past holds some of the keys to finding a fulfilling and enjoyable life for myself. I need to reconnect with young me, hopefully a truer me who remembers what I enjoyed doing before working and the expectations of supervisors and coworkers mutated what I love do into what I’m good at doing. This part of the answer isn’t especially new to me but it is something I haven’t focused on much lately. Obviously I need to change that. I’m sure I’ll develop other techniques for dealing with the “mean reds” but I think this is a good start.