Don’t Worry. Be Happy.

I don’t really believe in New Year’s resolutions, but my intention for 2019 was to make a genuine effort to worry less. Why? Because it’s a filthy habit, and an unhealthy one, and I worry that it has been affecting my health, my sleep and my overall mood (see what I did there).
Here’s an example. I have spent the last 36 hours fretting about the weather. Specifically, a storm still a few days away, that might or might not affect my ability to comfortably and safely be somewhere that I absolutely have to be.
Just to be clear, it’s not like worry paralyzes me. I’m an excellent multitasker, so while worrying about the weather, I’ve also worked, run multiple errands, cleaned the house, watched movies, taken a walk, played with the cat, had some soup, yelled at the cat, you know, lived a life. But that looming concern has kept me from experiencing total joy while doing all of the above and it has made me stressed and cranky and not the happy person I want and try to be. And, this may come as a surprise to you, but I actually have no control over the weather.
That’s the thing. How much time do I, or you, if you’re reading along, spend worrying about things that we have absolutely no control over? I think the answer is, anything more than about 30 seconds is too much.
When I was unemployed, and then underemployed for that painful stretch a few years ago, I told myself if I ever got a job, I would never have anything to worry about again. I even wrote a post about worrying way back in 2014. At that time I was trying to regularly remind myself that everything always works out as it should eventually, something I truly believe to this day. And when I first moved to Massachusetts, for a long time, I think everything was so new and different and life was changing so fast I didn’t have too much time to sit and think, let alone pander to useless agita.
Now, I am firmly settled. And I have a great job. But for the last year I have been deeply immersed in a very challenging project that has not gone as smoothly as one might have hoped. Every day, there are new problems and issues and conversations and debates. And it’s all fine, but it’s hard. Really hard. I know we will get there, even now I can see the light shining at the end of the tunnel. But in the meantime I think maybe all the real and valid concerns attached to the project helped open that worry drawer that I have been trying so hard to keep firmly shut.
Lately I find myself focusing on things I can’t control, like the weather, or our horrible political climate, or if my sister is dressing warmly enough (love you, Nessy). On top of legit concerns like health and money and whether or not my cat has too many toys, or not enough. Important things like that.
Even as I’m writing this, I worry that maybe I shouldn’t be sharing again about this issue. Maybe people will think less of me after reading it. But, in spite of the highly curated version of ourselves we typically share on social media, the truth is, we’re all flawed. I own my faults, just as I own my strengths. And maybe I’m not alone in being a worrier. Maybe reading about my challenges will make someone else feel better, or less alone.
What’s to be done? There’s no point to owning a fault or flaw without trying to do something to improve it. My new approach is to try to think, will this be a problem in a year? Or a week? If the answer is no, move on. If the answer is yes, try to think of a solution, or a way to mitigate what you can’t control. So, this morning I called my plow guy, and asked him if, for an additional fee of course, he could come by extra early Wednesday morning if needed, and not just do a quick plow, but shovel away all the mess so all I have to do is get in my car and drive. And he said he would. Problem solved. Much, if not all worry, alleviated, if not banished completely. Now on to Muggins’ toy box.
The end, for now

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