Last week, I was in a then-and-now kind of mood. I almost added this one to the list:
I was carefree.
I can be a real worry wart.
… and then realized that the point deserved a little more exploration and attention.
As I age, and especially lately, I find myself sounding more and more, to my absolute chagrin, like my mother, who was a chronic worrier. There wasn’t a single detail about everyday life that didn’t come within the grasp of her constant state of near-panic. This incessant worrying was almost always coupled with a strange inertia. For instance, she would constantly lament the fact that the house was a “bloody wreck” and yet she wasn’t exactly the most astute housekeeper. She didn’t obsess over things getting done. She merely obsessed that they needed to be done.
(Needless to say, my and my father’s to do lists were always quite long.)
Despite the seemingly delayed awakening of certain genes that I must’ve inherited from her, I’m not quite as nutty as Mom was (fingers crossed) and nowadays, life is sweet and good. Sure, nothing is perfect, but there really and truly isn’t anything that I can point to and say “this isn’t working”.
So what the hell do I get so worried about sometimes?
Honest, it’s probably a result of the following equation: overactive imagination + years of things not going well + being my mother’s daughter… well, I think you get the idea. Lately, it’s been a tendency to anticipate every possible failure or to expect every sort of defeat.
(Does your brain do this to you, too?)
Yesterday afternoon, as I was gathering my thoughts for this post, I remembered, searched for and then found this poem that I wrote a couple of winters ago during a trip to Arizona:
Winter in Sedona
There is no need
to put on my boots again
and pull my tired arms and aching shoulders
into my fleece that hangs just out of reach
and venture out into this frostbitten day.
There is so much more to be done
here, next to this crackling fire.
This fire needs my attention –
to be poked and prodded,
coaxed to stay lit,
fed when it is hungry,
caressed when it is in need of touch,
and, at the end,
to be put to bed,
while I watch the last of its light
crumble into the embers,
its heat expended and absorbed
into my tired and smiling bones.
The world and all of its wonders –
the alien red rocks,
the ruby-crowned kinglet,
the bark of the Manzanita,
the cloudy blue juniper berries,
the soft, cold creek,
and the sun now bidding its fiery farewell –
can wait until morning.
I already know the answer: give it a rest! I don’t have to obsess over every detail. I only need to deal with what is right in front of me. Not only is there a beautiful world waiting to be explored behind the door, but this, whatever this is – in this moment – is beautiful also, and it is all that is required, if I can simply relax and open my eyes and see it.