The movie Home Alone was about me. Kinda.

I had tears streaming down my face.  I felt abandoned.  Why would they all leave me?

I was 8 years old, watching my parents, sisters and family friends pull out of the driveway.  They were embarking on an 18 hour drive for a week-long vacation to Disney World…and they forgot me.

My body was pressed against the large bay window, which during Christmas was a painting of the Nativity scene. But today, there was no salvation there.  I watched the 1989 Dodge caravan pull out of the only world I knew.  I was being left alone, no one to comfort me.

As quickly as all those feelings came, they went.  A warm wave of relief rolled over me.  I saw break lights halfway down my street.  One of the vans pulled up to the other with their windows down, the drivers having an animated conversation.  Both looking around and then, everyone looking back at the house. Looking at me banging on the window frantically.

What had really happened was everyone in one van thought I was in the other and vice versa.  A misunderstanding.  No abandoning.  Just a mix up in communication. I had thought my life was over. Nothing was further from the truth, perspective was very important.  My tiny world then was gone. The fact of the matter was my parents and family loved me more than anything and would have come back for me no matter how far they had driven.

I didn’t know what it was back then.  Only until recently have I created my own term for that feeling.  I call them flash panics.  Sort of like the flash crash that happened not to long ago.  Quick moments of irrationality when you can’t possibly see any outcome other than total devastation.

If you know me, you know I am a very easy-going person, nothing really stresses me out long-term.  I rarely lose sleep over anything from worry. But I do have these flash panics and they usually come when I am trading or when I am on the cusp of making large decisions. I haven’t been able to fight them off, but I guess that is the irrational part.  If I could anticipate the feelings, I could prepare for them, I could fend them off more effectively.

The trick to coping with these moments is to not do anything when they come about.  Wait. Let it pass and reevaluate what the trigger was and go from there.  Your body is trying to tell you something, but your mind has to add perspective before you act on anything.  My only exception is if it is a life or death situation.  In those cases, do what your body tells you, RUN LIKE HELL.

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