Friday, June 19, 2009

The Walking Nerve

Little joys of life seem to fade away as we grow older. Worry seems to have taken its place. I remember when I was younger thinking the sprinkler was some sort of an amusement park ride. Just the thrill of the cold water hitting my bare skin while my feet touched the wet blades of grass below was pure joy to me. Even when my mom would take me outside for a walk or just to play, the smell of the air was different. It was crisp; it was cool. I could smell the rain on the macadam as we headed back inside to watch the storm come in. I felt safe and loved. It was a nice feeling. Saturday mornings were a treat for me. My sisters and I would all gather around the TV and watch Looney Tunes while eating Fruity Pebbles, then head outside to play or swim in the pool. Funny as it seems, I still complained when all the activities had ended. “Ma I’m bored.” She would turn around and look down at me and say, “What? You just swam for two hours and played outside, how can you possibly be bored?”

I remember getting so excited when my dad would come out to the poolside area. My dad, being 6 ft tall, 350 lb would walk over to the side of the pool very slowly, give us a funny threatening stare, take off his slippers neatly on the side, and then would do a cannonball just to wipe us out. It was a total routine he had. He knew we loved it. Then we’d watch him lay down upon the water and lie there for like ever!  It was amazing. This huge man floating on the water, as if he was completely comfortable and ready to take a nap.

What happens to our passion for the little things; the simpler things? We need more of a rush to get our adrenaline going. Don’t get me wrong - little things like a great cup of coffee and watching the sun rise are all very exciting for me still, but there’s something different about the anticipation of it. I still get a rush from a good storm or when it snows to the point of closing all of the roads down. It used to thrill me when the lights would go out while a storm would hit while I was younger. Now? I tend to worry: "When will they come back on? Will I have hot water tomorrow? What about my internet connection? I can’t do anything but use my cell!”

Do you think worry has disabled all our senses of joy?

“Worry a little bit every day and in a lifetime you will lose a couple of years. If something is wrong, fix it if you can. But train yourself not to worry. Worry never fixes anything.” -Mary Hemingway

That was too easy to type out. Carrying it out is a whole other ball game though. Now, if you were to tell me to go outside to the poolside and have fun, my mind would go into a complete shuffle: "Do I have my EpiPen in case a bee stings me? Is it too hot? Will I get a sunburn? Will I see a bear? Does this bathing suit make my ass look fat?"  Seriously though, I think our thought processes, especially mine go into high gear and that’s it. We worry. It’s such a waste of time if you think about it - (but don’t think about it for too long).

At times I think I appreciate the little things, but truth be told, I find myself worrying more than I do enjoying everything. For the past few nights, I’ve had insomnia. My mind keeps going and going and going. It feels like it’ll never stop. I can’t even pinpoint on the one thing I had worried about because it is already long forgotten. Right there tells me that I have wasted an entire evening worrying about nothing. The funny thing is, my own mom worries about the smallest of things, yet she doesn’t fear the big things. It doesn’t make sense really. She’ll brave anything fearful, yet she will worry about having a couple of guests over: “Will I have enough food?” “Will they like the house?” “Will they enjoy their time here.”  She goes into full panic mode before a party - especially right before our Christmas Eve functions. She panics all day, until guests have arrived and her drink is in hand.  Then she’s finally enjoying herself.  But it's so true: most of the things we usually worry about never happen.  She always had enough food for an army and everyone always enjoyed themselves. 

Maybe it’s genetic, but I don’t want to worry all my life and wait until “I'm there” in order to enjoy everything. I poke fun at mom and call her “the walking nerve” or “the worrywart “. My grandmother used to do the same exact thing. I won’t tell her that of course, but it’s true.  Now I’m worried, will I end up taking the title: “the walking nerve” too? 

Am I already there?

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EDIT: My sister Cathy read this post and commented on my facebook account and then posted a photo of her two kids & my other niece playing in the sprinklers, along with this comment:
 
"You're not alone - we all worry big & small. It's forgetting your worries for moments at a time that keeps ya sane! Enjoy the moment below."  :)Thanks, Cathy! I love this photo!  It definitely does bring back some nice memories!