Good morning, Dear Readers. My name is J.H. and I am a worry-aholic.
I worry about the stupidest things imaginable. I also worry about things that could actually happen: what if my books never get published? What if something bad happens to the house or the cats and we can’t afford to have it fixed? What if my last job was as good as it gets, success-wise?
Both the inane worries and the ones that are somewhat based on reality have something in common: they are completely non-productive. They are at odds with the carefree, happy-go-lucky side of my personality.
When I was a full-time freelancer in the late ’90s, January and February were notoriously slow months for assignments. Every year. Without fail. However, as soon as I was past those two months, I did really well. Well enough to more than make up for the 60-day lull. I knew this, and still, every year, I fretted and worried that my business was failing and my career was coming to an end. The only thing that stopped my nagging anxiety was taking a vacation at that time each year. I came home well-rested and the work followed soon after.
In 2013, there’s been a bit of a shift. While not exactly hectic, it’s certainly been steady…I have eight assignments due in a matter of weeks, and it’s only February 12th. I actually had to turn down work while I was on my vacation, but still…I worry. What if it slows down after this? What if it’s a slow year? What if something bad happens to the house or the cats and we can’t afford to have it fixed? It’s enough to drive one mad.
I come by this honestly…my mother is a championship worrier, and I’ve learned from her example. I’m the only one who can stop this tendency in myself, but other than writing out my worries so I can see how kooky and pointless they are, I haven’t the faintest clue how.
In Curacao, I met a local celebrity who was quite the character. He told me I came from a stressful place and that I needed to let everything go. “You are going to die,” he said, “but not today.” Because he was so eccentric, it would have been easy to write off everything he told me as the ramblings of a nut, but there was a ring of truth in what he said. Last year was one of the most stressful periods of my adult life, and I’ve felt more anxious as I’ve gotten older, not less. I definitely don’t want to end up being that annoying woman in the personal care home, fretting about the end of the world. Time to stop worrying before it kills me.
What do you worry about? How do you quiet the nagging voice in your mind that warns of failure?