Worry, Worry Go Away!

It’s August 13 at 12:58 PM. I am sitting in my daughter-in-law’s kitchen in Chicago wearing borrowed sweats—it’s 63 degrees outside and the rain is bringing a chill to the air. Why is this significant? Because I’ve been worrying for two months about how I would endure the heat and humidity of Chicago in August. And guess what? I’ve been here almost two weeks and we haven’t had any. The temperatures have been mild and the humidity non-existent unless you count the two days of rain we’ve had. I guess that could be counted as 100%. If it were hot, that is.

Why is this significant? I ask again. Because it’s such a good lesson in the futility of worrying, which, I admit, is one of my best honed skills. I can worry about anything–I can worry about not worrying!

I spent several nights recently not being able to fall asleep because I was worrying that I wouldn’t be able to handle being outside while I was in Chicago in August, and that I’d disappoint my grandkids in some way. They might have wanted to go to the park, go to a Cubs game, go to the lake and I might have had to opt out.

This was a groundless worry as it turns out, but a worry based on past experience. I don’t do well in heat and humidity. I wilt faster than a Hibiscus flower out of water. I become dehydrated. I become a somnambulist, bleary-eyed and dragging through the day. I become non-functioning. I know this because it’s happened to me in Chicago before. I barely made it through one visit when Dave was in grad school. If I sat down, I’d fall asleep. If I stood up, I wanted to fall down. Come to think of it, that was 15 years ago, and they lived in a 3-story walk-up with no air conditioning. Things have changed. Might be time to move on.

Now, what I can learn from all this? To stop worrying would be good, but it may be to difficult a habit to give up cold turkey. I’m sure I’d have withdrawal. Hopefully I will remember this experience and bring it up in my mind every time I start to worry. What if I used that technique on the golf course? I could stop worrying about the sand traps and water hazards waiting to entrap my ball. Then I could just hit away with a relaxed confidence. The ball might fly through the air with the greatest of ease.

What a thought! I might just have found a life-changer, here. Now, if I could just warm up a little.

4 responses to “Worry, Worry Go Away!

  1. Worry is a bully. But it’s a bully that we can choose to walk away from…and it is SO liberating to realize that worrying is optional, isn’t it? It’s the part of “living in the moment” that so many people miss. I.e.- it’s easy to “live in the moment” when you are eating a delicious piece of salted dark chocolate, savoring each piece for the sublime pleasure that it is. We get to tantalize our senses, pack ourselves on the back afterward and feel like some kind of Lululemon wearing Zen master, right? But, the other part of “living in the moment” is dealing with what is right in front of us, and nothing else. Not what could be, might one day be…or what once was (often known as regret)…but only focusing on right now. Not as easy….but with practice, our inner dialog can become more automatic. … ” Is it hot right now? No. Might it be in 2 weeks? Who knows. Not worth wondering, worrying, or suffering over because it is out of our control and a waste of time.” The only thing we REALLY get to control is how we choose to think right now, and how we choose to react …. If we focus back to the present, and look for something to appreciate instead of worry about, we feel like we are making some sort of progress instead of feeling out of control. Is it denial? No, because IF it is hot one day, we will deal with it then, at that moment, and we will undoubtedly have options to soothe ourselves or work through it at that time. What it is, this “be in the moment” kind of focus-shift, is good time management. Because we get time back this way! Because we spend so much more time experiencing the here and now and all the wonders that we would have missed if we were busy worrying. And we maybe even gain some peace… We make room for the good stuff: love, joy, passion, engagement, appreciation, growth, opportunity, wonder….yada yada. It’s freedom from the bully. So happy to hear that you’ve extricated yoursel! May you do so often. xo m

  2. Worry, the girl says…? It’s in your genetics, kid. Just like MJ who’s cursed with the same thing (Italian style). Our son – now our son the doctor – has lived there many moons. And now that you mentioned the weather he hasn’t squawked about it lately. Love and hugs to you, Mo and all your family from Dana Point… Chuck & Mary Jo. Note: You’re the first person I’ve ever answered to in this form. But don’t worry about it, I’m basically harmless, when sober.

  3. Can we change the genetics through learning?
    Best to you and MJ!

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