W – Worrying

A-Z Survival Guide to Life

W – Worrying

This is the twenty-third installment in the A-Z Survival Guide to Life I am writing for my boys.

dalai lama - worry

Worrying is something I am really good at. I spent the first years of both of your lives worrying about fevers and what horrible illness they might be foreshadowing, I worried about potential accidents and traumas that might befall you, I worried about everything.  And your Dad worried because I worried, I being the “expert” on children in our family.  When you approached your teen years I worried about bad influences, and the possibility that somewhat questionable friends might introduce you to drugs, cigarettes, alcohol and risky behavior.  I made you both watch episodes of “Intervention”, followed by discussions of where things went wrong with the person being highlighted in the episode.  I always said if we kept the lines of communication, we would be okay.  And I think you guys have turned out quite well, despite all my worrying and fretting.

If I hadn’t worried, would you have turned out the way you did? If I hadn’t played every horrible scenario out in my brain, before you walked out the door, went out with your friends, swam in the pool, chopped bamboo down in the backyard with an axe (and the list goes on) would you have made it this far in one piece.  I don’t know.

And you know how I always say “Be careful” when you leave the house. I am fanatical about saying that.  Because I am afraid, the one time I don’t say it – something will happen.  It is my magical thinking way of placing a safety blessing upon you. Our job is pretty much done, in the fact your Dad and I have attempted to instill common sense into both of you.  I am also comforted by the fact that you both have an inherent desire for self-preservation and are not thrill-seekers. It is the only thing I can do at this point – this safety blessing.  Yes, I know it’s a bit whacky, but I can’t help myself.

But here is what I have discovered over the years – worrying doesn’t really do anyone any good. And this is the lesson.  There is no point to worrying.  Into your lives, trouble will come, but if you take preemptive actions to minimize troubles then you reduce the amount of time and energy wasted on worrying.

Here are the areas in which you can take charge and avoid the worrying:

School – Honestly, school is the best deal going. All you have to do is go to school, respectfully pay attention to the teachers, ask appropriate and relevant questions when necessary and complete your assignments in a timely manner.  Do more than what is expected of you.  Review your notes after each class.

Remember when we spent an hour bedazzling your French project poster board and your teacher loved it because she loves all things sparkly? We didn’t have to do that, but she thought it was great you had taken that extra step and she gave you an A.  Find out what the teacher loves, and give it to him/her.  It’s not sucking up, but it is playing the game and getting the grades.  Start working on your writing assignments as soon as you know what they are supposed to be about.  Come up with creative, imaginative stuff.  Teachers get a kick out of the fact the student has taken the project and really thought about it, and achieved the objectives by coming at it from a different and imaginative angle.  If you do approach school keeping these tips in mind, you will never have to worry.

Work – Work is kind of like school, in that you need to give it your all, do more than what is expected of you, and don’t worry about the fact that your coworkers aren’t doing the same. There are always going to be slackers at work, who expect everyone else will do their work so they can take credit for it.  You could drive yourself crazy thinking about how lazy some people are, and it will make you grumpy and less effective at work, and people will say you are not a team player.  Don’t get sucked into this.   If at the end of the day, you can sit on your couch at home, and say, I had a really good day at work, despite some of the losers I work with – then you have done well.  And do not bore your spouse with every word, every action, the less than stellar workers said or did at work, because your spouse will not want to talk to you after a while and will groan inwardly when the subject of work comes up.

Money – This is an easy one. Don’t spend money you don’t have.  And as mind-numbly boring as this sounds, setting up a budget is really helpful.  When you do start receiving regular paychecks, don’t go crazy with your new found wealth, and buy expensive shoes or clothes, or cars.  Money never goes as far as you think it will.  Make sure your bills don’t exceed your income.  Don’t buy things on credit, trust me this never turns out well, because once you start the cycle with the credit cards you become a slave to them.  And if you can, set aside a certain amount every month for annual bills (like car tags) and emergencies (car repairs, dental bills, unexpected expenses).  The rule of thumb is to have the amount of three months’ worth of salary set aside in case of lay-offs, emergencies.  I have yet to do this.

When you get married have separate checking accounts. It is better not to combine the money into one account, it just fosters bad feelings.  Split the bills down the middle, each person should pay proportionally their share of the bills.  Again, have an account for emergency funds, unexpected bills, that requires an agreement from both parties in order to withdraw money.

Pay your bills on time. Avoid car payments if you can. And set up your money so you are in complete control.  Have medical insurance, car insurance – hedge your bets. If at some point you buy a house, the actual price should not exceed 2.5 times your annual salary.  So – if you make $100,000/year, your house should cost no more than $250,000.  Don’t ever become “house poor” – it is a miserable feeling. And voila,  you won’t have to worry about money.

Relationships – Spend time with people you enjoy. It is not worth your energy to become involved in drama.  Some people love drama, relish conflict and will draw you into their web of chaos.  If you find you dread spending time with certain individuals, do yourself a huge favor and bring the relationship to an end.  And remember, spending time alone, is so much better than spending time with people that drive you crazy.

If you can follow these recommendations you have probably eliminated the major sources of most of your worries. Spending your life worrying is no good, it is an unhealthy way to live.  If you can minimize the areas that cause people the most consternation, you will be one step ahead of the game, and much happier because of it.

Now if I could just follow my own advice.



Photo credit – quotesgram.com


24 replies »

  1. Struck the right cord there, my friend! Feeling kind of guilty by my attitude back in my college years… but I don’t regret it because I achieved something that I’ll treasure forever 😀 It really depends on the person, because if he’s happy living in that manner then he lived a good life by his perspective 🙂

    • So true!!!!!! I didn’t really get my act together until my second 3 years in college, and I too regret not really digging in the first time around and doing things right. But like you said, it all turned out well. But if I can pass this on to my kids, maybe they won’t make such huge mistakes, and they won’t waste time worrying.

  2. Perfect. Wise advice that I hope your sons heed. Worry doesn’t change anything – only taking steps in the right direction does. Great Dalai Lama quotes. He’s so succinct. 😀

  3. This is wonderful. Early on I managed to grasp your first three points, but that last one about Relationships took me a long time to figure out. Your advice is perfect. And made me smile.

    • I read that last bit and you are right, it is a bit obtuse. Basically, I was trying to say spend time with people that make you happy and do not wear you out, or drain your energy because of their drama and neediness. That still doesn’t make that much sense. Hmm, let me think about this some more.

      • Oh, I was talking about me personally in my life. Your writing is fine, and it is what I eventually learned along the way. Sorry to not have commented more clearly. Mea culpa.

  4. I think this is the best one yet. Prepare and then let it go. You’re a good mom.

    I’m a worrier to the nth degree. I don’t know how to fix that. I think it’s ingrained in my DNA. 🙁

    • Hi Lori, hope you are feeling better, are you back to your old self? I am a worrier, but I have gotten better over the years. Writing seems to be a really good outlet for a great deal of my worries.
      Thank-you for the compliment, I try. But I don’t think parents ever feel like they have done enough, at least I don’t, always feel like I have come up short when it comes to the kids, the dogs (not enough walks, pets and hugs), even the fish and the turtle (don’t clean their tanks as frequently as I should), the plants (not enough water, fertilizer) and the list goes on and on.

  5. Another gem here! I’m so the same with worrying about the kids, but at the ripe age of 32 I’ve at least learned not to waste as much time and energy on people and crap relationships.

    • Wait until you get over 50, then you really don’t care very much about what other people are doing with their lives. I still worry and fret over the kids, because now they are on the roads and in control of a 2 ton vehicle, surrounded by idiots in cars. That’s scary.

  6. Love this! Such great advice! I too make my teen watch intervention…he is my step son who’s mother was and still is a drug addict. So I explain to him that it’s in his genes and that he should remember that one “try” could ruin his life like it did hers. Surprisingly he remembers being all of 4 or 5 and watching his mother tweaked out of her mind. I love the part about the house buying too. Financing anything is tricky and should be taught before they even get a job. We told our son that he won’t be financing a car until he moves out and pays for his own place to live first. I watch the people down the street with all their kids who are now well into adulthood living at home but all driving brand new cars. Guess it’s none of my business but a place to live is more important than what you drive. Great post!

    • So I am not the only one that makes their kids watch Intervention, that’s great. It makes me sad that kids have to witness stuff like their parents on drugs. The financing stuff scares me because it is so easy to get sucked into all of that. We have bought both kids really decent cars so hopefully they will hang onto them as long as possible. Thanks for the kind comments and it is comforting to hear other parents have similar approaches to raising their kids.

  7. Thanks for checking out my blog!

    Very nice post! I have only recently come to the conclusion that worrying is a fruitless activity –especially since most of the things that I worried about never came to pass. What a waste of time that was!

    I really am enjoying what I am reading here. I often tell my son and daughter that I started blogging to leave them with a compendium of my personal stories, memories, thoughts and wisdoms.

    It looks like you have done exactly what I am hoping to do.

    • Thank-you so much for the visit and the kind comment. My kids haven’t actually read any of these posts, but who knows, someday they might find them useful!!!!

  8. Did you change the format of your blog recently? When I arrived this time, I was shown a collage of pictures, which I don’t remember seeing before. Anyway, I was interested in this post called “Worrying” because worrying about my own children is something I seem to do rather a lot of these days. I also say, “Be careful!” every time one of them sticks a nose out the door. Your advice is good, I think, although I can’t in all honesty claim that I follow every word of it to the letter.

    • Well me neither, but it seems like something we should all strive to do. I worry about everything. I worry that the change in my blog format has caused you undue worrying and consternation.

      • Thank you for your concern! 😀 I worked out that the reason for the different look was probably because I usually click on post notifications in my email, so I go directly to the new post, but this time I may have clicked the gravatar in a comment and so been sent to the home screen.

        It makes a change for me. Usually when I go wandering on other people’s blogs, I tend to end up in their spam folder for some reason. 😀

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