Are You Worrying About Life?

Well, stop it.

The truth is, there’s probably nothing you can do about your worries right now. Unless there is, in which case you are in a glorious amount of luck. If you have the power to enact change in the otherwise helpless, chaotic flume ride that is the human life-span, you can’t sit around shitting in the bed and wondering why it stinks. You have an obligation to take the moments you can by their hairy, chaffing balls.

Think of some principals (make sure they come from inside you and not a hypocritical institution like the church or the government), then live by them. They don’t have to be fancy. Mine are: be honest with yourself, respect your own boundaries and the boundaries of others, try to be kind, and operate on the theory that hard work is it’s own reward. I don’t always live by them (which is completely obvious to anybody reading this blog), but they’re a nice indicator of how far away I am from my moorings at any given point.

The temptation to worry about one’s life is pretty great. After all, while you’re worrying about something you can avoid doing about it. You’re like a rat on a wheel, feeling the accomplishment of movement without the results. Worrying when you know the solution, but fear the result helps you to avoid the consequences of your actions for just a little bit longer while rest of the waking world rushes forward without you. Worrying when you know nothing can be done gives you the illusion of control at the cost of your mental stability (and if you’re me, your stomach lining).

Rather than worry about something that has to be done, plan about it instead. That way, you’re moving towards your goal responsibly and without the stress of having to take major action all at once. Break your task into the tiniest pieces possible, put them on a checklist and look at it from time to time. Do as much or as little of the list items that you are comfortable with, it’s not a race. What matters is not how fast you move towards your goals, but that you’re moving at all.

If you find yourself worrying about something you can’t change, I recommend focusing on the things you can. I usually pick between cleaning, exercise and loafing. Loafing, done well, can be a really healing experience, especially when one is the type of person who craves action and finds it hard to sit still. Reading non-fiction books, taking a bath, or playing video games are all excellent loafing activities.

If you don’t know what to do, then do some research and let the problem ferment for a couple of hours or days. It’s very rare that something is a true emergency. In situations of real emergency it’s planning, not worrying, that will save your ass.

Look at the pretty beach. Don’t you feel better?