Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

What, Me Worry?

I've come to the conclusion that becoming an adult means learning to worry. And becoming a parent means you worry in spades. I think about worrying (perhaps I worry about it?) and wonder if we worry more because we are so well-educated.

For example, as a child, I loved to fly in airplanes. I was fortunate enough to have parents that could afford vacations that included flying. I loved every bit of each flight - the seats, the food, the flight crew and, most of all, the turbulence. What could be better than being high up in the air and suddenly dropping several thousand feet? Like a roller coaster - whee! Today, I know better and I know more and so I worry. I worry about the safety of the plane, the germs I might be breathing in the air, and, most of all, I worry about turbulence and disaster.

As a mom, I naturally worry about my kids. Generally, my fretting increases as the world around me and my children change. I read Time magazine which is packed with things to worry about - bird flu, global warming, terrorism... My son is about to turn 18 which means he gets that friendly Selective Service postcard in the mail: (It's fast. It's easy. It's the law!) Immediately my prayers for the soldiers in Iraq and their families turn to panic at considering that may one day be me.

My fears are real and embellished: My kids riding in cars with inexperienced drivers. My kids riding in cars when drunk drivers are looming around every turn. Although I try my best to minimize the risk, I realize that it's fruitless. It's totally and completely out of my control.

Being a parent isn't the only ticket to worrydom. I have several friends without kids and they join me in this grownup fretfest: Will interest rates go up? How long can my parents live on their own? Is my job secure or should I consider other careers? Plain and simple, if you're an adult, you become a pro at worrying about everything.

So, what's an adult to do? I've developed this annoying habit of waking up at 4am to create elaborate scenarios about which I worry. This does nothing except make me really tired and crabby. Although on the plus side, sometimes crabbiness replaces worry which may be a good thing.

My sure-fire technique for dealing with my episodes of being an overwrought worry-wart is to become a recluse. I turn off the TV news, shut down my computer and I stop reading magazines. I don't look for things to worry about. I sometimes lose myself in a fat work of light fiction that takes me away from reality and the terrors of my own mind. I limit my concerns to what I see around me instead of what might be lurking throughout the world.

Is my worry avoidance strategy simply escapism framed in denial and self-centeredness? Damn right it is.


At 8:53 AM , Blogger Trista said...

I think I've always been a little bit of a worrier, but now that I'm a little older, I worry about everything, regardless if its something minor or major. I think it is a sign of getting older.

I completely understand your fear of flying. The first time I flew I was in kindergarten. I was so scared, that before we took off one of the pilots came out to try to calm me down (this was pre-9/11 and before the pilots had to lock themselves in the cockpit). As I get older, and as I fly more and more, I worry more and more.

At 8:53 AM , Blogger Tyra said...

I am a worrier too, I worry about everything and most people close to me would never even know it. I keep all my worries deep inside because I feel if I voice them I will be considered neurotic, lol.

Michele sent me!

At 9:02 AM , Blogger Shannon said...

its as simple as when can they go to the playground alone that gets are we supposed to do it? I didnt get the manual, did you?

At 12:41 PM , Blogger Erin said...

Worry: What it means to be an adult!

I just try to focus on the here and now. I can't worry about tomorrow, or next week, or even next year, for if I did I'd end up in a psych ward!

This doesn't mean I don't plan. I just know that plans can change and never say NEVER!

Of course, when we start talking about kids, I'm the biggest worry-wart there is! I can't even go to the grocery without worrying that someone might take them.

At 5:43 PM , Blogger Star said...

I think a lot of it does have to do with being a parent. If I hear a siren, especially at night I have to place in my mind where each of my children are (to the best of my knowledge) and know that they are not in the vicinity. They are 27,29 & 32. Live their own lives away from mine. I still worry.

At 1:29 AM , Blogger Juliabohemian said...

knowledge is hell, isn't it? The more I know, the more I obsess. Like holidays, for instance. They were much more fun when I was a kid and someone else was doing all the work. Now, they are just a huge hassle.

At 5:47 AM , Blogger Marie said...

Yep, ignorance is bliss. I'm into a fat, light, chick-lit novel myself right now...

It does help to turn off the tv & radio sometimes & just not have it all coming at you.

I'm a worrier too, and I'm thinking I need to do lots & lots of yoga while my son is growing up. Something to counteract the worrying.

At 6:04 AM , Blogger Star said...

Good morning Karen. Michele sent me by this morning, but I come by anyway.In the words of my husband "Don't worry . It will all work out" And it does but I wish just onve he would worry along with me!

At 7:31 AM , Blogger Oreo said...

Hey, even if it works!! I don't read papers or magazines. I limit my news time to 1 hour a day...SOME days. I don't read the news on the computer. I can't do anything about most of the stuff that's going on anyhow sssooo.....Oh, & I REFUSE to fly. If I can't drive or walk there I'm not going. Now as for my kids. I pretty much try to give it to God. After all, there's not much I can do about that either.

At 5:17 AM , Blogger novaks8 said...

I can totally relate.

My daughter went on a church trip a couple of years ago.
They flew to South dakota (we are in NC).
She had never flown before.

I'm telling you, I sat here and refreshed the airline website a hundred and one times to see exactly when she took off and landed. I also had on CNN "just incase" something happened.

So know that you are "normal".

I also remember when my youngest was a few weeks old I refused to take her anywhere...That was the year of the flu vaccine shortage and epidemic scare. (2 years ago)

Also, you should see me at Target fussing at my kids to STAY BESIDE ME!

At 11:29 AM , Blogger Marisa said...

I'm the same way and I DON'T have kids! I avoid the news like the plague b/c it just makes me feel cynical. I watch a story about child abuse and wonder if it's going to be my next case...

At 11:33 PM , Blogger Carmi said...

It's OK to worry. It means you care.


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