Have you ever been really worried about something, almost consumed with the “what if?” I know I have, and I’m guessing you have too. Have you ever noticed that the things you really worry about, generally never happen? And that sometimes, the things you think you won’t have an issue with, actually become issues?
I’ll give an example: my five-year-old started kindergarten this year. She is a picky eater as well as a very slow eater. I’m talking 30 minutes to eat a little bowl of rice. I was concerned about her eating lunch every day at school. Luckily I know her teachers pretty well. I asked one teacher how much time they get to eat. About 20 minutes. Yikes. I pretty much thought about this all summer long.
Well, she has been in school for about three months now, and she has only taken her lunch twice. And it’s not because she doesn’t like the food. It’s because some of her friends take their lunch, and she wants to be like them. Which leads me to my next point: the things you thought would be fine, can actually become issues.
Playground politics, man. I didn’t think it would happen in kindergarten. One morning, I woke Norah up and she asked if it was a school day. I told her it was, and she said she didn’t want to go to school. I asked her why, but she wouldn’t say. Over the course of getting ready and eating breakfast, she told me it was because of the game the girls were playing at recess. All of the girls were horses, and they made Norah be the baby horse because she’s the smallest girl. Norah didn’t want to be the baby horse. After more talking, we decided she wanted to be a dinosaur 🙂 We did some roleplaying and she was feeling much better.
Never would I have thought she would have issues playing with her friends at recess. These are the same girls she’s gone to daycare and preschool with for the last two years. Somedays she comes home and says she’s still a dinosaur, or maybe she wanted to be a horse, and somedays she’s a tiger. Whatever she decides to be, I hope she will remember that she always has an option and that they will still be her friend if she stands up for herself. I hope she’s always a dinosaur in a world of horses.
I found this quote when I was in college, and it has always stuck with me. It hasn’t stopped me from worrying. But it does make me feel better.
The other thing that makes me feel better when I’m worried about something is a trick my sister-in-law taught me several years ago. Her tip was to go through the worst-case scenario. Go back to my worrying about Norah’s school lunch. Worst-case scenario? She doesn’t like anything on her plate. She just drinks milk for lunch. You know what? They still have two snack times in kindergarten! She’ll make it through the day.
In the end, worry is rarely worth it. And it gives me a stomachache. And sucks all the joy and fun out of my day. “Don’t worry about it,” is always easier said than done. But if you really think about it, if you can while in the midst of that worry, worry won’t change the outcome. It won’t make the thing you’re obsessing over stop from happening. It does nothing but steal your happiness.
Also, thinking about worry made me think of the Fraggle Rock Theme Song.
Are you a worrier? Do you have any tips or tricks for dealing with it? Have you found that the things you worry about never actually come to fruition? Or do you feel sometimes that it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy? Let me know in the comments!