May 21

I am what could charitably be described as one of life’s worriers. I should say though, if you forgive me a moment of boasting, that I am really, really good at it. I am to worrying what Leonardo Da Vinci was to art. I am the Muhammad Ali of anxiety, the Elvis Presley of panic, the Sigmund Freud of fretting, the Horatio Nelson of nervousness. In the field of thinking up the blackest of black scenarios, mentally thrusting myself into the middle of them, and then experiencing gut-wrenching fear as the results play themselves out in my mind, I have no equal. I also do a good line in hammering a point home in an opening paragraph, but I think I play that one down enough so that no-one notices.

My wife is everything I am not. She is (though I think she would deny this if asked) level headed, wise, collected and calm. Above all, she doesn’t share my ability to imagine disaster layered upon disaster, all coming together to crash down me like a huge, ominous disaster onion. She looks at life through different eyes (literally as well as figuratively, we’re not the Munsters) and sees things in ways I do not. Where I see potential for disaster and loss, she sees potential for enjoyment and pleasure. It’s kind of like a slightly more psychological version of that song “po-tay-to, po-tah-to”. You know the one I mean, don’t sit there trying to pretend you don’t.

When I think back on it, I have wasted so much of my time worrying about what might be, what might be coming, what might happen to me, what I might have to endure, what I might lose, that it’s scary. I’ve had 29 years on this planet and I think a good chunk of that time has been filled with the niggling feeling of impending doom. I’m deeply, vastly jealous of people like my wife who can just enjoy themselves because it’s never been something I have been good at. I can relax, I can have a good time, but I almost never get out of my head and get in the moment.

I have to try to do that. I don’t know how – maybe I just establish one day when, between midnight and midnight, I don’t worry. Could that work? A day off? I could give it a try for one single day and see how it feels. I think that might be nice, because the strange thing is that while I am really good at worrying, it’s not something I enjoy all that much and when all’s said and done, it’s not exactly a skill you can whack on the old CV is it?

Perhaps that’s just what I need – a day off from worrying for the first time in years. Trying to change the habit of a lifetime perhaps, but I’ll give it a try anyway. Perhaps tonight will do the job, nothing special, just a good book, some wine, watch a bit of TV, spend some quality time with my wife, and no worrying about anything.

I have so much to be thankful for in my life. Perhaps it’s time for me to actually be thankful for those things and enjoy them, rather than constantly construct scenarios in my head where I lose them. I suspect this entire exercise is a massive example of “easier said than done” but I have to give this a try. Wish me luck. Or don’t, it’s up to you. I’m not worried about it.

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