My New Year’s resolution is to stop worrying. My worrying has grown to such an extent that it is making me miserable and annoying those around me. Intellectually, I know it is a waste of time and energy to worry. I freely admonish others not to do so. But I’m really having trouble breaking this habit.
When the weather is bad, I get crazed about my loved ones who are out driving in ice or snow. My sons would get very peeved with me, because they thought this meant I thought that they were not good drivers. Au contraire! I am worried about all the buffoons who are not good drivers and could hit someone I love.
Plane travel – forget it. Even though there are thousands of safe plane rides per day, I get pretty worked up when a loved one is flying. Now it’s extending to road travel. Last month my entire family traveled to Philadelphia for my nephew’s wedding – by car. On the NJ Turnpike, a famously safe highway! Yet I was paralyzed with worry until they arrived and then had to check with them by text to be sure everyone got home safely. Just because my kids are grown up does not mean I am free from worrying about them. Now that they are having their own kids, which is nothing but joyous, I find myself thinking “Look! More people for me to worry about.” STOP!!
OK, I know it’s neurotic and unproductive. But the question is how to stop. I really thought, for a long time, that my worrying had magical powers and if I dropped the ball, the results would be devastating. I know that’s not true and I am open to turning off the worry faucet.
My middle son recently had a kind of intervention with me about the worrying, and told me he could see it was ruining my life and detracting from the genuine joys that abound. That was a wakeup call for me, hence the New Year’s resolution.
I’m looking to all of you other moms for ideas on how to quit this silly habit. I have the rubberband on my wrist, ready to snap it whenever a worrying thought crosses my mind. Today I went to the doctor for my lengthy cold, the second one in the space of 6 weeks, and I did NOT imagine the worst. I calmly told myself that it’s a cold that probably turned into a sinus infection, and that’s that. So I took a baby step! Hurray for me!
I was able to leave my dogs in a kennel for 2 nights without being worried about them. This kennel has a Dog-cam through which I could actually see my dogs cavorting with the other dogs during play time. That really helped me to calm down about them. Another small step!
I don’t like the feeling that comes with worrying. It’s similar to an anxiety attack, only prolonged over time, and therefore very draining. And I know I am expending mental energy for no real reason. I’m not solving a problem, not brainstorming ideas, not planning my work week or next vacation, but instead, just spinning my mental wheels into a deep muddy rut.
If you stop and think about it, every day is a huge leap of faith. Every time I get in my car to go to work, I’m spending 40 minutes on the perilous roads of Connecticut. I never worry about not getting there. I don’t imagine some coked-up lunatic is going to crash into me. Why does that seem so doable, when other ventures make me so trepidatious? If I could figure out how I do it SOME of the time, maybe I could be worry-free the rest of the time.
Have any of you found parenthood to be an adventure in exponential worrying? Have any of you found a way to stop? Please share your ideas.