Just Breathe

 To anyone feeling stressed or overwhelmed, this blog post is dedicated to you.

A very important lesson I learned immediately from moving to India: you just have to trust that everything’s going to turn out OK. 

I learned this from the moment I landed at 2am and the driver didn’t know where I needed to go and didn’t speak English. I learned this while riding in a rickshaw that decided to go the wrong way on a one-way street.  I learned this in the streets of Mathura for Holi Festival with 100 men running toward me with buckets of water and colored powder.... 

Just breathe, because everything is going to turn out OK. 

I think a lot of people would consider this conscious optimism to be, in fact, a bit naive. But if you’d ask any of my friends, optimism would not be one of their descriptor words for Quinn Fegan. Furthermore, after living the past 12 years in New York City, I don’t think there’s a naive bone left in my body. So why this about- face in positive thinking? I hate to put it this way, but I think I was forced into it. 

People react very differently to being in positions where they feel out of control or stressed out. Full disclosure- when I typed in ‘how does feeling out of control affect people?,’ the list was overwhelmingly negative. In fact, I don’t think there was a single positive on the page. That being said, I can completely relate. At one point I was one of the youngest reality TV casting directors in New York City. I can confidently say this now with an affected feeling of “well.... duh.” But back then I was beyond a bundle of nerves... I was a puddle of adrenaline and heightened anxiety, topped with a sprinkling of the “fake it till you make it” mantra on top. I’m no scientist, but ones body and mind does not do well in this type of condition. I never had to go to the hospital for exhaustion, I never developed a drug problem or an eating disorder, but it did take many, many years for me to slowly unlace the cats cradle of panic, fear and anxiety that came with high pressure jobs or situations that I simply couldn’t control. 

Fast forward to me in the backseat of a speeding rickshaw going down the wrong way of a muddy, bumpy street. I have decided to take a video on my iphone because it’s just so ludicrous and surreal. I’m thinking to myself, I can’t wait to show this to my buddy’s back home. And at this point, this is my only thought. I’m not thinking, what if someone hits us head on? What if a dog, cow, human jumps in the road and we can’t stop in time? What if we hit a particularly intense bump and my purse,  camera, computer fly out and I have no money to pay the driver and I get hauled off to jail... you can seriously go down the rabbit hole with these thoughts and none of them are that incredibly far-fetched. India is so full of curve balls: ups are downs, lefts are rights. And because there is so many out of control factors, you’re almost conditioned into the thought process of “well, it’s going to turn out ok” by default as the human brain can’t keep up with so many negative variables. 

It’s a truly liberating feeling to understand that yes, a lot of crazy things could happen and no, you can’t do a thing about it and you know what, you’re just going to have to be OK with that. India has instilled in me a sense of trust in the universe (if any of my friends in NY ever read that sentence I’d never live it down) because instead of trying to hold on to all the unknowns, ball them up, tuck them somewhere in the pit of my stomach.. I just have to believe that life is going to turn out the way it turns out.. I’ve never really had control of it to begin with.

To be clear, I don’t endorse stupidity. Walking blindfolded into traffic, climbing to a waterfall that has ‘Danger’ signs all around it- that’s not trusting the universe, you’re just being an idiot or attempting to revive MTV’s Jackass. But for the small things you can’t control, the things you must do as an active member of society, the things you must do that challenge you in the best of ways- whether it be tackling a challenge at work, or overcoming a personal issue- for those things I humbly suggest taking a leap of faith and hoping for the best because in the end, everything’s going to turn out OK.