I’m a natural worrier.
As a radio producer, this served me well. I could smell potential problems—and believe me there are a million of them—so I obsessed about planning for those, just in case. As a result, things went pretty smoothly on the shows I produced. (I just never slept.)
As a parent, on the other hand, being a worrier is a very bad thing. What can go wrong in child’s life? Are you kidding me? What can’t? There are virtually no situations that don’t cause me to worry. I even dreaded going to the playground when the boys were younger. Some see a swing-set and think “Oh fun!” I see a swing-set and think “permanent paralysis!”
The good news for my boys is that I really work hard at keeping it bottled up inside (like a good German/heart-attack-victim candidate) instead of hovering over them like a helicopter. My boys probably had no idea I was dialing 9-1-1 in my head the entire time we were at the playground.
People who don’t know me too well are always really surprised to find out this little character trait of mine for some reason. On the outside, I guess I appear to be cool and calm and composed. (And the Academy Award for best performance goes to…)
Of course, I’m not. Almost never. The only thing I don’t worry about is myself. I’m at peace with who I am as much as I can be at peace with anything. I know my limitations.
The trick is to avoid situations that cause me to worry about someone else. For instance, teaching my oldest son Tommy to drive is completely out of the question. Screaming “Dear God we’re all going to die!” doesn’t instill the kind of confidence a young driver needs.
Remember that time you and I went mountain climbing and skydiving together?
No you don’t.
I can’t even watch those commercials with someone driving a car to the edge of a cliff. No need to give me that disclaimer: “Do Not Attempt: Professional Driver”. There’s a zero percent chance of that happening within fifty miles of me.
Remember that time we dropped acid together?
No you don’t. My brain would have exploded.
If you’re not a worrier, I know what you’re thinking, because I get this advice all the time from people like you: “You worry too much. Just stop worrying.”
Great idea. I hadn’t thought of that. Whew. Problem solved.
Now for all of you non-worriers, I’ve got some advice too…
“The proper distance to follow another car is more than five inches.”
“If you never hold ‘em, you don’t need to know when to fold ‘em.”
“You’ll shoot your eye out.”
“If it sounds too good to be true, it is.”
“Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.”
Those pearls of wisdom came from my people. You know, the people that single-handedly keep the pharmaceutical companies in business.
Now where did I put my blood pressure pills?