I have this wonderful friend. I think she’s in her 70’s, but that seems unreal to me, because she seems much, much younger—yet at the same time, she’s eternally wise and worldly. She’s a conundrum. Named Sally. Or as her husband calls her, ‘My Gal Sal’. Swear to God.
Anyway, when I was home in St. Louis my junior year of college doing an internships, we went on many walks.
It’s fair to say that during that time of my life, I was a mess. Eating disorder, panic attacks, general fear of just about everything. Such a sad thing, I was.
And I remember, on one of our walks, Sally and I were talking about our traveling fears. I was deathly afraid of flying. She was deathly afraid of highway driving. She told me, “There is no point in worrying. Because you always end up worrying about the wrong thing.”
Lately, I’ve been around some people that are worrying their brains off, their hearts up and down, their lives away.
It’s hard to be around. (Even especially when I’m one of those people.)
Not because I don’t love them (us) all dearly.
But because I think we’re worrying about the wrong things. Our worries are valid, their imagined outcomes quite possible. But, in this moment, there is literally no evidence that these worries will come true.
So, here some of them are:
- Worried work and money will dwindle or disappear.
- Worried about how people will react to their decisions.
- Worried that someone might get hurt.
- Worried they’ll be alone for the rest of forever.
When in fact, who the hell knows? And what if we spend a year—or five—worrying about things that never come true? How sad. How tragically wasteful. Think of all of the things we could have done with their time? With the heartbeats that pounded in our chests? With the breaths that just wouldn’t catch?
Bless our hearts, these worries feel very real. They are based on stories we’ve written about our potential catastrophes.
At this very moment, I’m half-way through the first Percy Jackson story. [For those of you who don’t know, these stories are basically Harry Potter only not written, crafted or designed quite as well, and insert Greek mythology and gods for magic and wizards. Oh, and some parts are cheesey as all hell.]
There’s a lot of action (and a fair bit of me yelling at the book, ‘Come on! This is so fucking obvious!’) that inspires anxiety. I find myself freaked out and worried with a pounding heart full of panic for a fictional kid. Even when I’m not actually reading.
My point is this: this book isn’t that well written, I don’t love it, I know it’s not true—but I’m starting to wonder…I mean, it could be…and it’s causing me real, intense anxiety and worry.
I mentioned the other day that the future doesn’t exist. It’s not real. But somehow, most of us fill it with terror. When, in reality, everything right now just (for most of us I’m guessing) isn’t that bad.
It might even be good.
Image credit: Ron J. Añejo