As a young girl, I remember humming the familiar tune, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that repeating catch phrases and singing a particular song isn’t going to eliminate worry. There is ample to worry about at every stage of life.
My four year old even worries. She is not fond of swimming and so five days before her scheduled excursion with water, she will ask “Is it time for my swimming lessons?” Her eyebrows are raised and her eyes look anxious. I recognize her expression, it is one of panic. Once I say that today isn’t the day for swimming, she squeals in excitement and resumes playing.
Her worrying leaves me unsettled. Isn’t it too early for her to start worrying? I certainly don’t want her to adopt my propensity to keep worry as my friend. My mind worries about everything, from the mundane to the serious. I believe I am hardwired to think this way, always asking the what if’s and envisioning worst case scenarios. I am fixated about embracing the present, but realize my dependence on worry prevents me from engaging in the now.
Worrying doesn’t solve anything and although we all know this, it is difficult to divorce yourself from it. I think to a certain extent I worry in order to prepare. If the outcome is different than what I conjured in my mind, I am surprised and relieved. Then I admonish myself, for worrying about something that never happened. It is cyclical, as much as I don’t want to worry, I engage in the behavior again.
I’ve used various ways to channel worry into a positive pathway. I run, I write, I blog and I try to employ the five second, five minute, and five years rule. I ask myself whether what I am worried about will matter in five seconds, five minutes, or five years. Most of the time, the answer is no.
Yet because it is my nature to worry, it won’t be something I can’t easily let go. What I do know is that it might be too late for me, but I am determined to raise a daughter that doesn’t spend too much time worrying about the future.
She needn’t worry because she has me to do that for her.
Do you have a tendency to worry? Do you worry about the mundane or serious? Do you try to not worry? Any suggestions on how to stop worrying?