Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Never Have I Ever... Worried

Four in the morning, crapped out
Longing my life away
I'll never worry, Why should I?
It's all gonna fade

-Paul Simon, Still Crazy After All These Years

Don't Worry, Be Happy

-Bobby McFerrin

What, me worry?
-Alfred E. Neumann

I received a message from my daughter one mid-morning, last week.
"I did something to my neck. I can't turn my head at all".
"I see", I messaged back. "How bad is it?"
"It's pretty bad. I'm going to a chiropractor now and see if he can help."

"No," I said. "I meant is this a 15 minute worry, an hour worry, or a full day worry? If it's only 15 minutes, I can fit it in in about an hour, but if it's an hour worry, I'll only have time this afternoon. A full day worry will simply have to wait until next week. I'm pretty full this week."
"It's certainly not a day's worry, but I can't decide if you should worry now for a short time, or put it off and worry longer. I'll let you know".

I am not a big worrier. My kids will laugh, but it's true. Worrying doesn't accomplish anything, so what's the point?
Not being a big worrier, however, doesn't mean I never worry. I do, but I'm careful about it.

I organize my worry time by topic, severity, and relationship to the worryee.

Let's take, for example, cauliflower. The price of cauliflower has been ridiculously high, and I haven't bought it for a long time. Because cauliflower is a vegetable and not chocolate, because there are other things to buy, and because I'm not related - even distantly - to cauliflower, I spend a minimum of time worrying about it. Either I spend a few minutes before I go shopping worrying about what I will buy instead of cauliflower, or a few minutes in the store itself worrying about the cauliflower farmers who must be going through a hard time if they've raised the prices so much (I am not aware that I am related to any cauliflower farmers either, so again, minimal time).

While waiting for my daughter to update me on her condition, I looked over my schedule for the day.
It wasn't a heavy day. I had started the day with the daily momentary worry that I had forgotten to buy pitot for my kids' lunches. (I hadn't.) Then there was the slightly longer worry of whether or not I had anything clean to wear to work and if it would match. (Yes, and yes; who says miracles don't happen?)  I even had enough time this morning while driving to work to get through several mandatory, generic worries: will my kid pass her math test today/will my grandson eat lunch today/will the level of the Kinneret ever pass the lower red line/will there be a worthy candidate to vote for in the upcoming Israeli election? (No for four...)

All sorts of worries pop up during work hours: will I have to answer the phone and speak to someone/will someone ask me to do something I don't know how to do/will someone not ask me to do something because they think I don't know how/will my soul die just a bit more today from boredom and lack of creativity? (Yes for four.....)

But all these worries take up only moments of time, and can be broken up into slots. I usually have plenty of time to worry about the important things: the weather, the laundry, has the leftover challah gone moldy yet, and will I have clean clothes for tomorrow?

Worries can be personal, local, and national. I usually take care of the personal first - the aforesaid laundry, pitot, lunches, and answering the phone.
The local worries take a bit longer: how long will my drive to work be when all these sky scrapers going up are populated? Is the Chinese take-out place still open? When will the army's move south be completed, and how will that affect my drive to work? Does climate change mean that the winters in Beer Sheva are going to be wetter or drier?

And then there are the National Worries. National Worries can be pretty heavy: Trauma, rockets, reserve duty, rainfall, the price of cauliflower. The worst of these are the worries that cause a dichotomy. I worry there's not enough rainfall, but at the same time I worry about the soldiers outside in the rain. And then (when I have time), I worry about the soldiers' mothers who are all worrying also. This can be quite wearying.

Because none of these things are in my hands, I manage to slip national worries into small pockets of time - usually just before I go to sleep.

My greatest worry, of course, is the unplanned-for worry; the worry that comes up when I don't have time to worry. A child's sudden fever, a flat tire on the car, war breaking out, these things can really disrupt my worry schedule.

It's a good thing I'm not a worrier, so I usually have plenty of time to worry about the unforeseen.

(Also, I worry about the anonymous creator of the above meme who made a typo. Luckily, as far as I know, I'm not related to the meme-maker, so I'm not too worried.)


Unknown said...

How is your daughter?

Reesa said...

She's actually fine, B"H!!! Thanks!

Ruti Mizrachi said...

Glad "Unknown" asked about your daughter so I could stop worrying. Meanwhile, thank you for worrying about everything FOR me. I love that you worry about the cauliflower farmers and the mothers of soldiers. Thank you, on behalf of farmers and mothers everywhere. <3

Misc said...

So glad to hear that "our" daughter is well. Most mothers know how to worry about kids, even if they're not our birth kids... On the other hand, I'm mostly the opposite of you. When my kids were living at home, even when at boarding school, I used to tell my kids "Don't Worry. I will let you know when it's time to begin worrying" This worked for years. Wonder if they are all in therapy b/c of me?