Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Penny for Your Worry

I am not a reckless woman by any means, but I am not afraid to admit that I have mostly lived my life in a muddled fashion. I have never had a defined career path, my obsessive compulsive side of my personality gets the upper hand frequently, and if something “shiny” crosses my path – forget it, I will officially check out of a conversation. Yet despite my determination to be happy, I have an Achilles’ heal of “buying worry”.

This past week you have heard the word ‘turbulent’ more times than we care to count. More frequent than that, you have heard the word ‘fearful’: Americans are fearful. The public is fearful. Our economy is fearful. People are fearful. I am fearful. LIFE is fearful.

I find myself caught up in the chaos just as if the words fear or turbulent were magnetic objects; I become instantly drawn with an unbreakable force. I’m sure you can relate - feelings of anxiety, panic, wonder, suspense, pain, turmoil, uncertainty. They are an emotional concoction of ‘fear’ turning carefree side of our personalities into complete worrywarts. During the day, I can appear composed, in control, stress free, but only because that is the norm of what is expected of me. Once night falls I become like a vampire pacing the house, tossing and turning in bed, consumed with worry. Consumed with the ‘what if’s’:

“What if the market doesn’t bounce back?”
“What if they give me a pay cut?”
“What if we can’t afford gas prices or groceries?”
“What if I fail as a mom? As a woman? As a person?”

I read somewhere recently that 83% of what we worry about never manifests in our lives. I can prove that statistic accurate; just imagine the above list of questions times ten and you know what I think about at 10 o’clock at night. Yet, given the truth of reality, why do we insist on worrying about the things we cannot change?

My best guess? Fear of the unknown. My best advice? I encourage each of us to not relive our pasts or pre-live our futures. Instead, we need to aspire to stay in the present. I am currently practicing this method through meditation, and although my mind still wanders off at alarming rates, I am finding that when I able to focus on the present I find a sense of peace. I can enjoy the moment of being still and serene, providentially free of those nagging worries – at least until the “what if I miss my deadline by sitting here in silence?” question drifts in.