Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – December 1, 2004
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – December 1, 2004 – I wanted to write about something uplifting and positive today. Instead I’m going to ramble on about worry. Worry is an emotion similar to guilt, of which someone once said “Guilt is like paying interest on a debt you don’t owe”.
Worry is the stuff of legend – the thief of sleep – the destroyer of everyday well-being – the catalyst for strife between otherwise sane individuals and probably one of the greatest human levellers.
Hardly anyone is immune. People may say, “Oh, I never worry”, but don’t you believe them. Now Ziggy really doesn’t worry – he’s a cat and he is immune from all things silly. Augie, on the other hand is a worrier. He looks at me sometimes, head cocked to one side, a slight quiver in his leg and I know he’s anxious for a pat and a soft word. Ziggy simply hisses, swishes his trail and marches off to a tune only he can hear. He just doesn’t care about things that don’t concern him. I wish I could download a bit of his DNA and inject it into my brain, perhaps in a nice little microchip.
Looking back, I know I was a worrier as a child. It’s not much wonder I ended up with panic and anxiety. From brooding about the boogie man under my bed, to giving book reports in school, to what my little friends might think, to the size of my nose, the colour of my hair and my wide hips. In school, I failed my way through every exam I ever wrote and every essay I ever handed in to a teacher or professor.
I was filled with doom, gloom and dread. I never came away with anything less than passing grades and exemplary work. What an absolute waste of energy. Well, I’m older now and you would think I’d have given up “things childish” in favour of more adult beliefs. This doesn’t appear to be the case. I’m concerned about my chubby thighs, possible heart attacks and brain tumours, my business when I’m busy and the lack thereof when I’m not, spending too much money on unnecessary “stuff” (my dish and jewellery addictions) to ending up in a bus shelter (which I suppose is possible but highly unlikely).
Anxiety floats just under my consciousness at all times. It’s subtle some days, and brutal on the days when it surfaces and takes command of my rational thoughts. Fuelled by fear it takes over and has its way with me. I can’t remember life without feeling anxious.
The more I think about it, the more I wonder if it’s genetic – embedded deep in my DNA. Maybe I was a womb worrier – receiving telepathic messages from my mother. I know she was always concerned about lack of money, paying bills and providing a good home for her husband and children. So the question to ponder is – “Can I change my predilection to worry?”
Intellectually, I know that worry is right up there with guilt – a total waste of time and energy. Perhaps worry would lessen if I had more faith that my life is exactly where it’s supposed to be. All the things I’m experiencing and learning are ultimately shaping my life the way it’s meant to be, and moulding my character, so that one day when I report to the great way station in the sky – right before the Pearly Gates (I’m making an assumption here) – my Creator may say – “Yeah, she’s okay”.
Of course if I end up going in the opposite direction, then I’ll have another set of things to worry about – like little red devils with pitch forks and nasty grins.
f I had a deep and abiding faith (I don’t mean religious, but spiritual) that my place in the Universe was assured, then I bet a lot of my worry would disappear. The “what ifs” of anxiety would lose their hold on me. I wouldn’t care where I sat in a restaurant. If my business was a bit slow, I’d be thankful for the break and go to the movies more often. I’d do the best that I can in my personal and professional life, knowing that everything was going to be alright. Faith is described as “a firm belief in something for which there is no proof”.
I should be swimming in “faith”. I have proof that I can manage my life – that I am safe – that my actions match my values and that my life has purpose and meaning. No amount of worry will ever change that over which I have no control, and with faith at the ready, who needs to worry?
Put in this way, the wind quickly leaves the sails of the good ship “worry”, and renders it ineffectual. Faith has the power to scatter worry in its wake like so many drops of water in the wind. A different way of thinking and believing will deliver a much more desirable result. I know this, the simplicity is extraordinary. I wonder what it takes to change my thought process and make worry recede a little? The answer is really a thing of beauty – it just takes a little bit of faith.
December 2014 – I have pretty much thrashed worry to the ground – along with what will people think – life isn’t fair and it’s his fault. As to the chubby thighs – I secretly still wish they were firm and sleek – a reminder of my by-gone days of running!