Tuesday, August 31, 2010

On The Somewhat Wretched Lives Of Mrs. Whatif And Mr. Ifonly

So, I have decided that there are two kinds of people in the world. Well, not people...there are lots of those. But two kinds of worriers. Or really three...three kinds of worriers. And then the forth kind of people who do not worry at all. So that is 3 kinds of worriers making four kinds of people, some of which do not worry. Should I start over?
First kind of worrier. Those who fret about the future. I will call these good folks the "Worry Warts." Just as a side bar they also worry about the present whenever they are not in control of the situation. We could also call them the What-Ifers. "What if Sally gets hurt? What if I don't do well? What if he doesn't like me?"
Then there are the "Regreters." Our good friends who agonize over past mistakes, missteps and missed opportunities. We could call them the If-Onlys. "If only I hadn't done that. If only I had jumped sooner. If only I had not said that." You get the idea. Of course we can add the third group, those who do both, but what could we do for those poor fools but laugh at them!?
In case you are wondering...I attend the If Only School for Chronic Regreters. But I hope to graduate soon. It is funny how the Worry Warts are distressed by what they cannot control and Regreters by what they DID NOT control (eh hem...themselves). A good friend of mine recently told me about her visit to the dentist. They had to pull in a second dental assistant to help hold her tongue during the exam, because apparently she could not control it. Boy howdy if that is a job anyone out there is willing to do...you're hired! Cuz I could really use an assistant to help me hold my tongue.
As a budding yogi, I understand (and have even blahged about) the importance of living in the present and really relishing every moment of what IS. Live in the here and now. In some respects it is easy. I am not one who worries about the future. I make plans and have hopes and dreams, but I know that not everything is within my power to control and so why fret about it. Friends often ask me if I worry about my kids when they are on dates or Hunky Hubby when he is out climbing mountains or skiing down them. The answer is no. I am not in control of those situations and worrying about them will not change what happens one bit. It is out of my hands. I pray for their safety and make sure I know where they are and how to help if there is trouble, but that is all I can do. No, I do not worry too much about that which I cannot control. My burden is the big bag of "oopses" I carry over my shoulder. And it is a big bag. We all have mistakes and regrets. It is part of life. I believe in repentance and in plain old apologies, but it never seems to erase the memory. I keep a running list. Well, two lists I guess.
If Only I had... If Only I Had NOT...
Thinking of the things I wish I had not done or had not said actually evokes a physical response. My heartbeat quickens, my jaw tightens, my stomach turns. This is the stress response. I understand it is much the same bodily reaction that our Worry Warts experience. This is our body's sympathetic nervous system kicking into gear releasing all kinds of nasty hormones that one might need if there were real danger to run from. But this is only perceived danger and we are better off without the juice coursing through our veins unnecessarily. It all seems so silly. The worry I mean. What is real is now. We do not know the future. We cannot undo the past. We must live in the present. Find joy in the living of our lives. Learn from our mistakes. Do a bit better every day. Look forward with joy. But live today without the hauntings of yesterday or tomorrow.
So the question is...How do we do it? How do the Regreters let lie and the Worry Warts let go? I do not have the answer. I know we must do it. Worry never changes the past or the future only the joy we have in the present. I am ready to graduate from my school of worry. You?
Quote of the Day: "There are two days in the week about which and upon which I never worry... Yesterday and Tomorrow."
~Robert Jones Burdette humorist


  1. i am a bit of a "worry wart". not about little things, but about things like, "what if i never get to be a mother?" i worry about having a happy future...or being happy in the future. it really is quite wretched indeed.

  2. Yep yep, that's me! Big worry wart over here about things I can't control. When you find the secret to getting over it let me know!

  3. I am a huge worry wart. I got it from my father who worries over everything. I am the same way--or at least over things I can't control. For instance we have a ward party coming up and I gave the food assignment to a friend of mine who has been a professional caterer. So you would think I wouldn't worry about it, but I do and have twice called her to make sure everything is okay. I think I am driving her crazy.

    I would like to let go of things, but I am not sure I know how. The older I get the more I seem to have to worry about. :-)

    And thanks for dropping by my blog today. It was nice to hear from you.

  4. Plant me firmly on the IfOnly list. *sigh* And I get so tired of it!

    I do my darnedest to do my best in nearly everything I do, but somehow it's never 'good enough' and I follow myself around fussing over it the rest of my life.

    I have, however, given up on feeling bad about my less than perfect mothering, thank goodness! (Regrets about that nearly killed me.)

    I've officially 'let it go,' and I think it's helping me learn how to let other things go, too. :)

  5. I think I fall into the worry wort catagory. I sure wish that I wasn't that way. I think that maybe mom's are wired that way. And as for the tongue thing....I wish she could just follow me around ALL day holding my tongue.

  6. So much true, but sometimes, only sometimes a bit hard.

  7. I can think of so many conference talks where we are admonished to live in the present. Worry and regret take so much away from our quality of life and from our ability to do good NOW.

    I don't worry much about the future (what? There's a future?), but man do I ever beat myself up over past mistakes.

    Excellent post, thanks for sharing!

    (visiting from MMB)

  8. I hate that I'm a huge worried. Many a sleepless moment in my bed. Faith should prohibit worrying... I suppose.
    I can't imagine how bad i will be when I'm a teenager.
    i tend to not look TOO much into the past, but there are a few loser moments I'd like to forget.