From Iceland — Is Being An Anxious Mess A Side Hustle?

Is Being An Anxious Mess A Side Hustle?

Published January 23, 2024

Is Being An Anxious Mess A Side Hustle?
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Notes of a chronic over thinker

This one is a little weird because I was interviewing a drug dealer for this column (clue: not me), but as it probably goes with most illegal deals, it’s been shady and cryptic from the very beginning. I lost contact with them. I hope the actual drug deals with this person run more smoothly than their interviews.

I do have side hustles myself, of all different shapes and kinds. Once, I was a hand model in a tech app commercial; photos of me riding a snowmobile advertise fun winter activities in Finland; not a trained cook, I baked ten cakes for a national park’s birthday celebration. A few years ago, I wrote a student aviation manual for a private college in New Zealand (please don’t ask how that came about — you won’t believe the sorts of things you can get paid to do online). To this day, when I hear about a plane crash, I hope no one was actually using my manual.

If I could monetise my anxiety, I’d be living in the biggest house in Garðabær.

But the biggest of my side hustles is thinking too much about things.

If I could monetise my anxiety, I’d be living in the biggest house in Garðabær. Or rather, I’d use my house in Garðabær as a storage unit for everything I’ve ever owned (because, yes, I don’t really know when I would need those things again): any mention of people who are no longer present in my life would take a 10-car garage, there would be a separate room for every rejection letter I’ve received — job applications, visas, scholarships. Another room would hold the printed versions of every message I’ve never sent, followed by the handwritten notes of every time I thought, ‘Oh, I probably didn’t turn off a [stove, kettle, handsaw].’ I did not, in fact, remember to turn off my hair straightener in the summer of 2011. That memory would be framed.

Whenever I’m hustling my hustles, anxiety takes centre stage— a watchful dog, looking, sniffing and sending doubts my way. Questions echo in my mind: Do I really not know how to spell “accommodation,” or is it normal to Google things I know like the back of my hand? Does everyone go through this? The amount of times I’ve had to convince myself I do know where the brake and gas pedals are in a car is just ridiculous — it’s a constant mental refrain of “brake, gas, brake, gas, brake, gas.” Or is it “gas, brake?”

If I could turn my anxiety into energy, Teslas would be a thing of the past. Moon landings would happen every fortnight. The perpetual motion machine would finally exist.

For now, “Hustling things. Available for hire.”

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