Everywhere I turn these days, people are fretting themselves over very little. In fact, it seems they have now developed a new pass-time of worrying, as if their lives are so empty that this is all they have left to do. Have we become a nation of worriers to replace a nation of warriors? It is very worrying. In fact, I am very worried about how many worriers are out there.... I shall stay awake all night tonight worrying about how much worry there is in the world.
Tonight someone asked me a question : should we start a Forum where people can complain about things? Like services provided, or quality of goods, or general dismay at the misery of life in general? What, I asked, like a kind of Whinge-a-Holics Anonymous? Is this what the world has turned into, or just in this little bubble called Ireland, where thoughts are never far away from the nearest pending doom and gloom, like taxes. Or little Johnny's failure to understand Algebra (which he will never use unless he becomes a scientist, and let's face it, he never will if he doesn't get Algebra to begin with - another worry). Just turn on the television or open a paper in this country and tis no wonder we worry - we are thrown asunder with worry of obesity, underage sexual encounters, disease, the dangers of leaving a peeled onion in your fridge, the concern that your house might go up in smoke if you keep your money under the mattress..... and all the while, sales of Xanax are on the rise everywhere.
There's a new buzzword in town : Generalised Anxiety Disorder. This in itself is a worry, because this type of anxiety doesn't have a real name, or a category to belong to, so it's just dumped into the "general" category so that clients can worry a little more about the real cause of their worry. After all, it can't be identified, so it must be worrying, no, to live with this type of uncertainty? I mean, if the psychiatrists and psychotherapists can't identify it, I mean, what chance is there? Worry, worry, worry....
What is worry, by definition? "Worry is to feel, or cause to feel, anxious or troubled about actual or potential problems".
See, there's my worry right there - that you can now worry about potential problems - surely there is a potential problem in anything and everything these days? What if that chicken has salmonella? What if I don't wake up in time for work tomorrow? What if the car doesn't start? What if they cut my electricity off? What if my husband has an affair? What if this pimple bursts all over my new pillowcase?
How about this one : What if you don't fucking wake up tomorrow, now THERE'S a real worry. Or not. Because if you don't wake up tomorrow, you'll have nothing more to worry about - you have reached your destination. Please collect all personal items as you depart Life....
I am so sick of listening to people moaning, complaining, worrying and whingeing, all the while doing absolutely nothing to change the things they are moaning, complaining, worrying and whingeing about. They always seem to find me, these worriers. I think I give off a radar signal of "I don't give a shit about anything!" and they home in on it like flies to a cowpat. Perhaps if they hover close enough to me, their worries will fade into the background. That worries me. See, now I'm worrying.
But I don't, really. I don't sweat the small stuff. Anything that has happened to me has, eventually, become part of my past. And so whatever shite I might find myself quick-sanding in, shall too become part of my past - I just have to paddle a little faster for a little while. I don't get into debt, therefore I don't have to worry about not being able to pay my bills. I live within my means, and I sleep peacefully at night. I don't mix with assholes, so therefore I don't have to worry about having to be polite to them under false pretenses. I don't eat shit food, so I don't have to worry about whether I'll live to be 61 or 64. I don't drink, very rarely, so I don't have to worry about what I'm doing to my liver. See, it's all about choice in the end, isn't it?
Your actions will have a consequence - so choose what you do wisely. I wisely choose not to worry, because worry takes away from the only thing that's actually real in this world : the very moment in which you're standing. At the moment I am in a lot of pain - I have a prolapsed disc in my back that has been hindering me for the past good many months. Am I worried? Not one bit. Am I in pain? Oh, for sure. And lots of it, too. So I channel my energy into making sure I'm doing the best I can at this point in my life to limit further damage, whilst assisting my body to heal as best I can. I've seen the neurosurgeon - it may warrant surgery; this I shall find out next week when I have my next MRI scan. Am I worried?
No. Because either the MRI scan is going to show no improvement (meaning surgery), or it's going to show improvement (meaning yaay, no surgery). Either way, surgery or not, the outcome is surely going to be the same - the elimination of pain, either through self recovery, or an operation. What's there to be worried about?
The amount of shit I listen to on a daily basis beggars belief. I think I made a conscious decision to not be like someone I know - he is the world's most prolific worrier, and I see how much stress worrying puts on him; his mind is never at rest. He is always fretting about something, and if he has nothing to worry about, he makes something up. That's very sad, all that energy wasted, and I feel sorry for the torment he's in, mentally. He's actually very funny, the things he worries about. Like driving over a manhole cover is going to damage the tyres of the car. Or what people could be saying because I walk my dog with a man who is unmarried and single, and who is one of my very best friends - yes, friends. Or what will happen if he tries to sneak in some contraband into the recycling bin, like a rag, or a bottle. Will he be caught? Will he be in trouble? Will he ever be able to settle down, be normal like "other people" (define normal?). Another friend worries that he will be poor, whilst being comfortably wealthy. Worry, worry, worry.
I can honestly say I have mastered the art of thinking about absolutely nothing, whilst simultaneously looking relatively pensive. It's quite an art. You can feign interest in a brain-dead conversation whilst planning your dinner, or ponder the outcome of your next Scrabble encounter without blinking an eye. Blankness is a wonderful ability, and I am so grateful I have trained myself into switching off the clatter and chatter that so many brains suffer from. All that gibberish, voices fighting to be heard, all the bullshit your ego spews at you and tries to get you to buy into, and detracting you from lovely peace and quiet. It must be very worrying. To others.
And like anything in this life, worrying started somewhere. It is a learned behavioural pattern, like everything else we're made up of. And you've got to take control of those little voices in your head - the ones that tell you you're not good enough, or strong enough, or pretty enough, or clever enough. The ones that snigger at your efforts to improve yourself. Drown them out by telling them, quite simply and in plain English, to fuck off. Because that's all it really takes. Be in control. Listen to how you think, sure, sometimes you think quite nice and helpful things. But be quite happy to discard the thoughts that increase your blood pressure and stop you from sleeping, because these thoughts are not your friends.
Are we designing a nation of worriers, I'll ask again? We have labelled our children whom we once would have described as enthusiastic or full of energy, as having ADHD. We have labelled quiet and pensive people as insecure. We have labelled mentally weary people as lazy. We have embraced high sugar foods as a staple in our diets, and wonder why we are so tired and overweight. We have labelled, we have labelled, we have labelled. And we have created a nation of anxiety that has served nothing more than increased customers for the pharmaceutical industries.
My benchmark is self-made. How do I feel about myself today? Well, sometimes I've pain, sometimes I'm happier than others, sometimes I'm lazy, sometimes I'm giddy, and sometimes I'm just plain bored. But I go with whatever I'm feeling, because if I am agreeing with my mood, there's nothing to worry about, not so? Conflict, that's the real concern here. Conflict in the mind, a constant barrage of questioning and doubting, that's what causes worry.
I just couldn't be arsed. Worry sounds like an awful lot of hard work to me, for no return whatsoever. I've had tough days, and I've pulled through. I've had poor days, and I've still eaten. I've had cold days, and I've warmed up again. It's history, isn't it? Aren't we supposed to learn from history to improve our futures? And my history has told me that despite some of the hardest things anyone could ever go through, I am still here. So why worry?
I'll leave you with this thought to ponder - or worry about. The choice, ultimately, is yours.
In life there are only two things to worry about:
Whether you are well;
Or whether you are sick
If you are well,
you have nothing to worry about.
If you are sick, you have two things to worry about:
Whether you'll get better;
Or whether you'll die...
If you get better,
You have nothing to worry about
If you die, you have two things to worry about:
Whether you'll go to Heaven;
Or whether you'll go to Hell
If you go to Heaven,
You have nothing to worry about
If you go to Hell,
You'll be so busy shaking hands
with all your friends,
You won't have time to worry...
So why worry?