I’ve got a confession and from the title of this post you are probably well on your way to guessing what it is. Yes, I worry. It all started back when I was about three years old. I was born and raised in small farming community in central Illinois. I believe my hometown’s total population at the time was 630 people, it is even less now. My hometown’s claim to fame was from being at the crossroads of Rt 136 and US 66. Before the invention of the interstate this was a very big deal. Truckers traveled both roads extensively and we were the home of Dixie Trucker’s Home.
It started out as this..
But by the time I came it looked more like this…
It is hard to imagine, but behind the photographer is US 66, on the other side of the restaurant is Rt. 136 and the road you see connects the two. Beyond Rt 136 and two houses up on the right would be the home my Dad brought Mom and I to, after my birth. The house was nothing fancy (not much in hometown is), but it was a great place to grow up. Not shown in this photograph is the huge semi-truck parking lot directly to the right. Hundreds of semis parked there and depending on their destinations they would pull out on the road you see in the photograph and either head to the left for US 66 or to the right for Rt 136.
For me those turning right to proceed to Rt 136 were the problem. Somehow in my young mind the concept of brakes and their function hadn’t taken root yet. So for my little three old mind when I would be playing in the front yard and the these huge semi trucks pulling 48 foot long trailers would come roaring down to the intersection, I was never completely convinced they wouldn’t keep on coming up my street veer to their right and run me over. Why I thought this I don’t have a clue. I never worried when I was in the car with my Dad that he couldn’t stop at each stop sign, nor did any truck driver ever give any indication at all that he might barrel on through the intersection and head my way. Nonetheless, each time a semi came toward Rt 136, I would run over and hide behind the front porch, watching carefully, completely convinced of the inevitability of my imminent demise.
That was the first worry I can remember and I was greatly relieved when we moved from that home at the age of five to a home that contained no death threats. Since then I have had more worries than I can count. Some have been warranted, such as when our youngest was deployed during two tours of duty, one to Iraq and the other to Afghanistan. Others, I am ashamed to admit, have been just as irrational as the first.
As I’ve gotten older and more in tune with how I function in life, I have tried to weed out those irrational worries. Sometimes I’ve been successful and other times, well let’s just say, occasionally my worries seem to have long talons. I’ve listed some ideas below that experts recommend:
- Address the worry. Put a name to it and know why you are worried about it.
- Indulge the worry. The idea being if you analyze it enough the worry loses its powerful grip.
- Get uncomfortable. Do the uncomfortable thing that is making you worry.
- Make a decision. Is it a good worry, like you need to get something done or is it a bad worry you can’t do anything about.
- Don’t rush it. Many times you feel you need to do something, don’t make a rash decision, take your time.
- It is never as bad as you think it is. This is a big one, our minds can reach for some far out ideas when we are worried.
- Talk about it. Sharing your worries tends to lessen their impact.
Think about what has you worried in life. Talk about it to someone you trust. I know everyone reading this knows that life is too short to lose precious time to worrying, yet we do. All of us do, but join with me, and let’s try to do it less and stop frittering away anymore of the time we have left.