I worry. Though I wouldn’t call myself a worrier by nature, that is, I’m not consumed by it, I still worry. About all kinds of things like, will my youngest who is a senior in high school find the right college, or more to the point, will he ever finish his college applications? Will my shoulder that keeps popping every time I rollover in bed need surgery next year and how will I pay for the deductible? Or, when will the bunion on my right foot make it too painful to run? Will the roof need replacing before I get all the kids through college? How long will my Volvo with 224,000 miles on it last before it blows something major, or, or, or… And the list goes on.
For most of my adult life, I kept thinking that the older I got, I would somehow reach a point where stuff just didn’t worry me anymore. I have achieved that in some respects…for example, I started a business in 2005. I had never worked for myself before, always having had a full time job with benefits, twice monthly paychecks, and evenings in front of the TV trying to forget the drama of the day at the office. I was now experiencing a new level of worry, like where the next contract was going to come from so I could pay our mortgage and put food on the table and clothes on my kids. It took a few years and some tough lessons, but I learned that the market does respond and I didn’t need to worry when business would soften. Rather, I learned to enjoy the times when it did and would take time off to spend it with the family or get caught up on projects around the house because I knew at some point business would get busy again and I would be back hard at it. The result of this was I no longer had the regret of wishing I had spent the down time enjoying it rather than being consumed with worry how I was going to get more business.
The confounding thing about all this is while there are many examples like the above where experience has taught me that I do not need to worry, it only works for the entirety of life if it were static–if what I experienced from here on out were just more of the same. THEN I would not worry because it would be, “been there, done that” for everything.
Not in my lifetime.
If self awareness has taught me anything, I am too much a seeker to be content doing the same thing. I seek new experiences, new challenges, new adventures, and the ONE big implication of all that is I continue to find myself where I haven’t been before. And I worry about how they will turn out. I do recognize a difference, however, and it has to do with doubt. My worry of yesterday was full of doubt. My worry of today is full of question. The difference in experiencing one versus the other, is the sum total of my experiences have taught me that I have somehow solved, figured out, persevered, survived, been lucky enough, to get to this day. And all that is transferable in informing how I experience today’s worry. I don’t doubt that there will be a solution to whatever worry I am facing today. But I question, and my intellectual curiosity and impatience for getting to the answer are the only things that cause me grief in today’s worry.
All this to say, when my worry is more about doubt than question, then I just need remind of where my talents and experience can help me through it. I reassure myself I am in the right place, and I keep moving.