Worry a little bit every day and in a lifetime you will lose a couple of years. If something is wrong, fix it if you can. But train yourself not to worry. Worry never fixes anything.
Boy...is that quote me in a nutshell. I shudder to think how many years I’ve wasted worrying. But in order to think about it, I’d have to live somewhat in the past and that’s something I’ve decided not to do.
It’s been a really interesting last couple of days. Every time I catch myself starting to freak out about something, I mentally give myself a slap and say, “Snap out of it!” (Apparently, the mental me acts a little like
Cher in Moonstruck.)
I know I’m not the only one who is attempting to make this change. I’ve gotten lots of comments and emails from you all, saying you’re ready to go with me on this.
Yeah! I love a party.
Yesterday I did the most amazing thing. I haven’t been sleeping well for the last couple of weeks and with the kids out of school for a couple of days this week...yesterday morning was the only time I had with ALL of them in school.
So I dropped them off, came back home, and got right back in my bed.
It’s not that I’ve never done this before, but normally I feel so guilty about it, I’ll lay there for about 20 minutes and then decide to get up. But yesterday I fell blissfully asleep. I woke up, I stretched...and I smiled. Not one ounce of guilt.
This whole idea of just letting life flow and what will be will be is exhilarating in its riskiness and completely freeing at the same time. This morning, when I woke up at 4 AM and started to freak out and worry about the fact that I hadn’t paid my credit card bill yet and obsess about having a late fee, I literally stopped, took a breath, and said to myself, “If you have a late fee it’s there already. Starting to worry about it now isn’t going to do you a damn bit of good. Pay it when you get up.”
And then I rolled over and went back to sleep.
God, life is short, isn’t it? I’ve started thinking about the years I can barely remember with the kids because I just wasn’t there. Sure...that first year after my husband died...that’s understandable. But I think I’ve always been that way...even before he was gone.
What a damn waste.
The other night, as I was pondering taking on this change, I was listening to my kids playing and laughing and it suddenly occurred to me: I’m going to blink and in one moment the “potty mouth” phase will suddenly be the “is that pot I smell” phase and then they’ll be grown. And I’ll be kicking myself for saying “I can’t play right now” because I thought the laundry needed to be folded right then.
The other day, my therapist mentioned that I’m an over-thinker. That’s why I posted the comment on Facebook about how life really happens one second at a time and when viewed at that angle...there really is no such thing as the future.
I know...not a nice thing to do to my friends on a Monday.
I’ve always been one (and I fully admit this) to “borrow” trouble. It’s not enough for me to worry about what we have going on this week and how we’ll get through it. I have to worry 6 months, 2 years, 5 years down the road. I stopped doing this for awhile...I would say probably for the first year after he was gone...because I had gotten a glimpse of what a crapshoot life is and I didn’t see the point in worrying about anything.
But after the first year had passed, it suddenly occurred to me that I was responsible for everything. I couldn’t not care about taking care of the house...because the kids and I had to live in it. I couldn’t not care about our finances because, at 5, 3, and 1, my kids were too young to be sent out into some child labor force so I had to think about what the future might hold. I couldn’t not care about the laundry because now that I was caring so much about our finances...I couldn’t just run out and buy clean underwear whenever we ran out.
And all of that caring scared the shit out of me.
Worrying about the future as a widow is completely different than worrying about it as an attached person. Some people have embraced their independence and they like the fact that if they’re going to succeed or fail...it’s all up to them. Others don’t like the fact that if something were to go wrong...they’re trying to paddle that boat upstream alone.
I can relate to both sides.
But if I can look at my life, second to second, and realize that one second I could be sitting here and suddenly win the lottery or one second I could be sitting here and get life-changing news...either way you slice it I shouldn’t be wasting a moment. This moment.
There was only one time yesterday that I really allowed myself to think about the future. And that was as I was driving to pick up my daughter from school.
I couldn’t help thinking about the hug I was about to get.
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© Catherine Tidd 2011