Today probably you’re a bit anxious maybe about some work you have to finish, people you have to see, some chores you’ve neglected Anxiety often appears to be about particular things promising us that if only they can be overcome, we’ll reach a stage of long-lasting serenity and security but really, if we are frank about how we function the problem really seems larger and more fundamental. Beyond any specific thing we happen to be worrying about looked at overtime we’re simply anxious to our core in a very basic make up of our being. Through we may focus day-to-day on this or that particular worry creating static in our minds, what we’re really up against is anxiety as a permanent feature of life: something irrevocable, existential, dogged and responsible for ruining a dominant share for our brief time on earth. Tortured by anxiety, we naturally fall prey to some powerful fantasies about what might finally bring us calm. At certain points especially in the north, the fantasies latch on to travel. Here at last there would be peace under the clear blue sky, on the island eleven and half hours from here seven times zones away, with the warm water lapping at our feet and with access to the seaside villa on pontoons. It’s just the matter holding on for a few more months and parting with a extraordinary sum or perhaps we be calm if the house could be really as we wanted with everything in it’s place no more clutter, pristine walls, ample cupboards, stripped oak, limestone or perhaps we’ll be calm when one day when we reach the right place in the company when the novel is sold, or the film is made, or our shares worth hundreds of millions and we can walk into a room full of strangers now know at once who we are or, and this one we might keep on private the might become if we have the right sort of person in our lives someone who can properly understand us, a creature with whom wouldn’t be so difficult would be kind and playful and sympathetic with a thoughtful compassionate eyes and in whose arms we could lie in peace almost like a child, but not quite. Travel, home, status, love: the four great contemporary ideals around which fantasies of calm collect. Yet despite the promises and the passion expended in the pursuit of these goals, none of them will work. There’d be anxiety in the beach, in the pristine home, after the sale of the company and in the arms of anyone you could ever seduce. Anxiety is a fundamental state for well-founded reasons: because we are intensively vulnerable physical beings, a complicated network of fragile organs all binding that time before eventually letting us down catastrophically; because we got insufficient information, upon which to make most major life decisions we’re steering more or less blind, because we can imagine so much more than we have and living a mediatized societies where envy and restlessness is always a constant; because we’re the descendants of the great warriors of the species, the others having been trampled and torn apart by wild animals and because we still carry in our bones into the calm of the suburbs the terrors of the savannah. All of which isn’t to say that aren’t better or worse ways to approach anxiety. The single most important move is to accept that we’ll always be anxious. There is no need on top of everything else to be anxious, that we’re anxious. That mood is no sign that our lives have gone wrong, merely that we’re alive. So we should be more careful when pursuing things will imagine spare us anxiety. We can pursue them by all means but for other reasons than fantasies of calm and with perhaps a little less vigour and a little more skepticism. We should also spare us of the burden of loneliness: we’re far from the only ones with this problem, everyone is more anxious than they’re inclined to admit. Even the tycoon or the couple in love are suffering We’ve collectively failed to admit to ourselves what we truly like. We should learn to laugh about our anxieties, laugh to be the exuberant expression of relief when a hitherto to private agony, is given a well-crafted social formulation in a joke. At last we should hug, not the forced intimacy of most modern hugs but the melancholy, sympathetic way Botticelli’s angels do it – having come down to Earth to offer comfort to humans for the brute facts of earthly existence. We must suffer alone, but we can at least hold out our arms to a similarly tortured, fractured and above all else, anxious neighbours as if to say in the kindest way possible, I know!