The only thing we have to fear is fear itself–nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.~~FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT
I am a worrier. A card carrying, loyal member of the International Society of Worriers. If there is something to be afraid of, I cluck like a chicken. If there is any concern to be had, I will have it. If there is something to lose sleep over, I will be up until the wee hours trying to sort it out. I get vexed, perturbed, distressed. I worry.
My whole life has been a series of butterflies in the stomach, a constant stream of upsets. Sometimes they were things worth freaking out about like my final Science and Math exams, in my last year of high school. I find it hard to believe that anyone can just go through finals without some shadow of doubt about how well they might do. Because, let’s face it, your WHOLE LIFE’S SUCCESS OR FAILURE is hinged upon how well you do on your school leaving exams!
There was anxiety over my pregnancies; all 3 children gave me a heck of a time, resulting in bed rest and early deliveries. Carrying a child to term, in a healthy, sane state of mind is no easy trick. There is blood pressure, diabetes, genetic deficiencies, fatigue, sickness…all manner of things that make being pregnant the hardest 9 months of a woman’s life. So yeh, I worried the heck out of the baby years!
But as often as I had legit big issues weighing me down like the proverbial albatross, there were also smaller things that occupied me, that really should have been kicked to the mental curb. For instance, when planning a bbq/party for a large group of friends (say 30+), I will toss and turn the night before going over a mental list of wants and needs for the party. Will there be enough food/drink? What if the stereo conks out (this has actually happened!)? What if people cancel at the last minute (this has also happened)?
Or let’s say we’re taking a family trip. Even though I have made a list (or two…or three…BTW, I’m also a rabid LIST MAKER, but that’s another post entirely) and check-check-and-re-checked them, once again the night before take off I am rolling around unable to sleep. Why? Because I’m afraid that I won’t hear my alarm and I’ll wake up late and then everyone else will be up late and then we won’t leave on time and …..anal much??
Today I became aware of a situation that as per usual, started me on the worry track again. After I’d covered Who/What/Where/When/Why/How, I suddenly had an A-HA MOMENT. In that moment I realized that the situation would be good or bad no matter how much I worry. Quite simply, my mental machinations will do nothing to alter the outcome. One of my favourite things to say: It is what it is. And I know that may sound lame, but to me it means a lot. It is the mantra that I chant when I need to climb down from the limb I’ve jumped up to, like a frightened kitty running away from a barking dog.
And it’s something I need to tell myself much more often, in a much LOUDER VOICE! Because the fact of the matter is that things have a way of working themselves out, worrying be damned. The bbq/party is always well stocked and everyone has a great time. Yes, people have cancelled on me, but I ended up making alternate plans and enjoying myself. My husband’s alarm goes off as a backup and we leave for the trip on time. And some of the various ins and outs of life that get me all knotted up like a tie, are invariably nothing. Just nothing.
I will probably always worry, to some extent; it seems to be genetic. But my eye-opening, mind-calming experience has started me on another track. Just trusting that providence, fate, the universe at large will take care of business, while I go about mine.