Cross that bridge when you come to it.
Let tomorrow take care of itself.
Que sera, sera.
Don’t borrow trouble.
These are all good mottos, but not for me.
I’ve always been a worrywart. I’ll get a troublesome “what-if” between my teeth and chew on it like a dog with a bone.
This approach isn’t working for me, though. I’m not very good at it. After investing countless hours worrying about something, downing bottles of Tums along the way, that particular problem rarely materializes.
There was that time I preworried a plane crash and it almost happened, but I think I just got lucky there. I’m not usually that accurate.
This has been especially true with parenting. My kids are just about out of the nest now, and neither seems to be too badly messed up. This despite decisions we made which I feared were huge mistakes.
For example, when Liz was in first grade I agonized over whether or not we should have a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese and invite the entire class. The pressure to conform to the “cool” norm was already intense, at least for us moms. I was worried if I didn’t hold the party there, this would be the misstep that condemned Liz to the social pits for her entire, grade school career. She would be unpopular and unloved, and would be firmly and irrevocably set on the career path of Axe Murderer. She chose Marketing, instead.
Don’t get me wrong. Although the things I worry about don’t often happen, that doesn’t mean I don’t get hit. I’ve had run-ins with lots of lousy stuff; it’s just stuff I didn’t see coming.
While I’m driving down life’s highway, keeping an eagle eye out for the Chevy of Dreadful Possibilities in front of me…BAM! I get sideswiped by the Lamborghini of Unexpected Calamity. The experience leaves me wearing the neck brace of Unforeseen (and largely Unavoidable) Consequences. The other driver is usually uninsured.
Since Dog With A Bone hasn’t worked too well for me as a life philosophy, I’ve decided to adopt a new one. I’m going to hand in my Eeyore Pessimist Club membership card (I’m a charter member) and embrace my inner Pollyanna.
Here is my new philosophy and mantra:
The Whack-A-Mole Philosophy of Life:
You can’t knock a problem down until it actually comes up. Until then, the best you can do is stay alert and keep a hammer handy.
OK, OK. I know this is not exactly the mantra of a dewy-eyed optimist, but let’s face it – that wouldn’t be me. It’s certainly more positive than my current approach, and might even save me an ulcer.
I don’t know if it is possible to change one’s basic outlook on life at my age, but I’m going to try. And if I fall back into the old habits and start worrying about stuff I can’t control? I’ll whack that mole when I come to it.