Stressed! Nervous! The road to nowhere! That’s where worrying gets you. It’s a dead-end road I’ve been turning down most of my life. I worried about my family, I worried about my friends and I worried about everything. I felt like my worry would protect those I loved.
In my teenaged years, I lived with just my mom. She was a single lady, looking for love in all the wrong places. One night, my imagination went wild. When it was 2am and she still wasn’t home from a date I literally got in my car to try to find her. I had no idea where she was supposed to be, but I drove up and down the streets in the wee hours of the morning in hopes I would see her car at the diner or see her drive past my car on her way home. During my drive I saw a man walking along the highway with a big black garbage bag and convinced myself that her dismembered body was in the bag! I rushed home so I could call the police but arrived to find her home wondering where I went.
Now, with kids of my own, worrying all day, every day is a given. When they were little, I worried they would choke or fall. When they were school-aged, I worried they wouldn’t make it to the neighbor’s house without me watching them out the window and then checking on them every 2 minutes. When they started driving, I worried so much that I would drive through the high school parking lot to make sure their car was parked safely and confirm that they weren’t stuck in a ditch somewhere.
One would think that with modern technology and smart phones, that worry could be put at bay. Afterall, I can call or text my kids at any time, although neither guarantees me a response. There are all sorts of tracking apps, but my grown kids have no interest in indulging me by downloading them. At least there’s social media! When the worrywart in me starts to wake, I stalk their Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts to see when the last time they posted or liked something was. If that doesn’t satisfy me, then I check Snapchat’s Snap Map to see where they are. So how is it that I am still fanatically worrying?
My mom worried about me in the same way. I remember playing board games at a friend’s house when I was 20 and their phone rang at mid-night. At that hour we were sure there must have been an emergency. But it was my mom wondering where I was and when I would be home. So annoying, but I can totally relate now. The difference is that she probably didn’t start worrying until the stroke of mid-night.
Maybe not being so accessible was a good thing. Worry could wait until it came time to worry. With social media, I’m often tempted to see what’s going on when I don’t need to know. My thoughts go something like this: “Oh no, the map shows they were on South Street an hour ago and now they’re not answering the phone…No updates anywhere in over an hour, what could have happened?” I often feel like I may be going crazy.
Worrying takes up too much space in my life, it gives me false information and takes my focus off other things, things that might help me reach my goals. What’s the point of all this worry? If whatever I’m worrying about came to light, would I be like “I knew it, it’s a good thing I worried about that, now I’m prepared”? Nope! I’d be just as unprepared for a crisis if I didn’t worry at all. In fact, most of the things I worry about don’t materialize. Enough already! I am working toward a new (but old) motto: Don’t worry, be happy.
Tell me this: What are your tricks to worrying?