Friday, September 11, 2009

On worry

It all started with Baz Luhrmann. I watched his version of Shakespeare's "Romeo + Juliet," (1996) and subsequently hopped on itunes and bought the soundtrack.

First of all, the album is great, a sweet kick back to the 90's, but that's not really my point.

The song, "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)" struck a cord. Maybe it's because I'm nearing the end of college and for some reason the worry and anxiety that is
usually (albeit constant yet) "underlying" is now screaming (more with everyone around me, but a bit for me too).

For days, I was holding onto one of the song's mantras,
"Don't worry about the future, or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum." I was rolling it around and thinking about my friends and all their worries, about how I was worrying about their worries, and about my own worries and the ways all this darn worrying was affecting me. I've concluded that worry is bizarre and fascinating.

But what's more is why do we worry? I was researching social norms, the things we say, the ways we think because of what we are told, the flight or fight response, the idea of inherent self-worth, "earning" and "deserving" and it's so complicated we hardly ever give ourselves over to thinking about it! Worry is crazy! Guilt is crazy! It's self-inflicted anxiety! Masochists. A society made up of masochists. No wonder we're so preoccupied, giving ourselves polyps and ulcers, and dare I say ...cancer to have any time left for happiness.

I looked up "worry" on the internet. That's right. I looked it up and I found a whole website devoted to anxiety. It has articles about combating worry, finding your purpose, and how our society is selling us emotions. Emotions are tight. Every single darn one of 'em. (Please note that Worry is not an emotion.)

I don't claim to have an answer; I don't know how to be save my friends from worrying. But I'm giving myself a shot. I'm going to, like the "Anxiety Culture" website suggests, take my feet off both peddles. No accelerator. No brakes. Hey, no hands!! (I added that last one myself.) Don't get me wrong; I'm not going to throw in the towel on the world, I'm just going to hug and welcome it. You know, I was reminded about a fact of life by the sitcom "Big Bang Theory:" we are born, we consume calories, we expel waste, we die. Neat, huh? And I promise all that will happen, too. Guaranteed. The rest of it cannot, by definition, contain mistakes. Since nothing else is noted in the rules of life, anything goes. Happiness goes. Happiness! We can have it! No one cosmologically important said we can't. We said we can't. WE said we can't? Masochists. Masochists. We can be happy, you know. And we don't even have to feel guilty about it.

So here's to it: thinking about what I'm worrying about, separating the feeling of anxiety from the actual problem and welcoming the problem. Hey, impending graduation, real world, and no path of aspiration! What up? The time that my mind has already given you, that doesn't even exist yet, will happen. For shiznizzle. It will definitely pass, and then what? Will I be happy? No matter what happens in that already donated slot in my life? Guaranteed. Happiness. Guaranteed!


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