“Do you worry a lot?” my friend asked. Before she could take a breath, I answered with an emphatic—YES. I worry about doing a good job, about pleasing people, about being able to get everything done. I worry about bills. I worry about what my life is going to look like five years from now. I worry about so many things most of which are completely out of my control. “Has it always been that way?” my friend continued. That time I answered no.
When I was a kid, I cared more about running in step with my best friend than winning the race we were both running in. We came in last place, but we were just two first graders having a good time. When I was younger, I don’t remember caring that much about what people thought of me or being overly concerned with what I looked like. Life was simple, and most people just let kids be kids.
Expectations seem to morph the older one gets. Grades suddenly become more important than what is being learned in the process. More and more emphasis starts being put on outward appearance and wearing the right clothes. With each year questions “like are you dating anyone?” “what do you plan on doing with your life?” and “are you married yet?” become more and more frequent. As long as you follow the traditional nine to five job with two kids and a dog pattern, no one seems to mind what you do with the rest of your life, but if there is any kind of variation people often don’t know what to do with you. It is easy to feel like some kind of enigma, and people’s approval becomes harder and harder to find. Different is rarely understood or excepted because, well, it’s different and people just don’t know what to do with that.
I’m learning (slowly) that it is impossible to please everyone. I know that in my head, but sometimes I still feel so pressured to try, that at the end of the day I feel like I am going crazy. I think I need to post the quote- “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind” somewhere where I will see it at least five times a day.
But, to be completely fair, I am my biggest critic, and often the only person being hard on me is me. I think that has been the biggest change between childhood and now when it comes to how much I worry. I know worrying doesn’t help anything, but it is an easy trap to fall into. I need to step back, slow down, take a breath, tap into the simpler days, and take some time out to do the things that make me who I am.
Worry eats away at the mind, but it shouldn’t. It doesn’t have to, and it doesn’t help. Good, bad, or whatever the sun still comes up, situations change, and many times things work themselves out before they become the huge problem you thought they would be. I’m working on letting go. Planning, but not overly worrying, and just learning to deal with each day as it comes in.