Summer feels like its finally here. Partly because we finally have our ducks in a row and got a PLAN together; partly because my body has acclimated to the warmer temperatures and I can exist in 85 degrees without gasping like a fish on a dock; and partly because the weather has been hot and sunny–perfectly suited for days at the beach and suppers outside.
Then, amongst all this bucolic summertime fun came the word of one of those random acts of loss and tragedy. The kind of event that pulls you up by the back of your neck and makes you wonder if you are really taking advantage of your short time on this earth. “Universe,” you may be tempted to ask, “what could I do to make sure that I’m focused on what really matters?” In my case the answer came back loud and clear; “You could lighten the heck up, already.”
I tend to worry, worry, worry. Case in point; every day since Hubby left his previous job I have worried about our finances. Every. Single. Day. And do you know what has happened? Nothing. Nothing at all. We’ve made a few adjustments and we are in exactly the same financial shape as we were before. Sure, it’s not like there’s a ton of home renovation happening around our place and our financial planning largely consists of me periodically bursting into the family room, looking at our three daughters and bellowing, “We are NOT paying for your weddings!” But no huge debts, no creditors beating down our door… nothing.
That’s over 700 days of fretting and gnashing my teeth for no reason at all. It reminds me of a time that my parents were going through their own rough, financial patch. My mom was wringing her hands, perpetually stressed to the extreme whilst my father was maintaining his infuriating (at the time) equanimity. “Look,” he once said, “Look at the clock. It’s 8:00 at night. The Bank is closed. They are not worried about me right now… why would I waste my evening worrying about them?”
At the time, I was firmly on my mother’s side; I mean, how could you not? The poor woman’s nerves were shot. But right about now, I’m thinking my dad was on to something.
Life is short and maybe it’s best not to spend your time worrying about all the little stuff that I usually spend my time obsessing over. So, for the moment, I’ve given myself permission to just relax, for the love of Pete. To just take a breath and enjoy the day ahead.
So in an effort to transmorgrify my innate, German pessimism into something a tad more cheerful, I have made a list of things I am no longer going to waste time worrying about;
- Grocery bills. I have a 12 year-old son who wears a size 9 men’s shoes. I need $30 a week just to keep him in generic cereal. The days of our $80/week food budget are over. Fuggetaboutit.
- The sorry state of my race photos. I am no longer going to lament the fact that the photos taken during my races do not show the lithe and leggy runner of my dreams, but rather a red-faced middle-aged woman with terrible posture and a clear need for medical attention. Dammit.
- The electronic ruination of the youth. That’s right. Talk on your stupid phones non-stop. Text and tweet so continuously that you forget how to speak to another human person face to face. Just go ahead, get a chip implanted in your brain and stream youtube directly into your cerebral cortex twenty-four hours a day. Reenact Wall-E in real time. I’ll be at the library checking out actual BOOKS. Because I am old, that’s why.
- Finding the perfect summer purse. 16 purses and they are all wrong. I suppose it’s not the worst thing in the world. Possibly.
- The state of my saggy, old lady behind. Listen, I can’t even see it. So really, it’s more your problem than mine.
- Having my optic nerve eaten away by the artificial sweeteners in my beloved Diet Coke. A rumor I heard once in high school and think about every time I drink one. You know, they never did find Sasquatch either, so I can probably afford to let go of this one.
- That one guy that always wants to sit with me on the bus. He’s probably either a) lonely or b) a little socially awkward and probably not c) a serial killer. Let’s hope.
So far the ramifications of my efforts have been good; I’ve spent far more time hanging with my kids and much less worried about whether the ever-growing pile of half-empty paint cans in my basement will one day explode. The real-life results look like this; three trips to the beach (’cause watching the kids play trumps cleaning the house, for sure), a briefly held high score in Dance, Dance Revolution, and an impromptu haircut that on a good day makes me look like Sigourney Weaver in Alien and on others like Nancy Reagan.
You know what? I don’t even care.