In my memoir You Can Go Home – Deconstructing the Demons, I write
Try not to look ahead at what might happen tomorrow, next week, next year, or the worry might kill you. Mom and I could tie for first prize as Worry Wart of all years, always putting our minds through gymnastics about what could happen. (Copyright 2013 Sharon A. Crawford).
Yep, that’s me. How much of a concern is it for people who worry? Dr. Karl A. Pillemer, Ph.D of Cornell University received a shock when he asked hundreds of seniors what their greatest regret in life was. Time spent worrying was their biggest regret.
Not me. When I thought about it, it is not the time spent worrying but all the crap that gets shoved my way, all the stuff I have to deal with on my own because I don’t have a partner. In particular, the stuff I can’t (physically or skilfully) do myself. The current list includes: getting a new window unit air conditioner because the old one died late last summer – and getting someone to remove the old and put in the new; getting someone to help me bring home a few bags of topsoil and a bag of mulch for my garden (I don’t drive and don’t have a car so although Home Depot is three blocks from me I can’t physically carry the bags home. And I can’t rent one of their vans to do so). The two male friends I usually ask can’t this year – one has cancer so no way for him and I understand – the other won’t because of his car. I don’t ask my son because he has back problems and he is out of country on business for most of the month.
So a female friend to the rescue – Tanya next door will take me to Home Depot to get the topsoil bags and get her husband Alex to bring back the mulch in his truck – a bigger bag, mainly because she wants a number of mulch bags for her own garden projects and I’ll just buy the one bag from Alex. This one worried me for some time because it is something I can’t do on my own. I know it’s supposed to be “ask and you shall receive” but is it?
The other current worries are of the bureaucratic red tape stuff that involve work equipment or the house, i.e., renewing an extended service warranty on the laptop which after the three-year lease is no longer covered under the monthly laptop lease fee – but I can get the laptop lease itself extended on a month-by-month basis. I have to get a one-year extended warranty which can’t be transferred to the new laptop I plan to lease from this fall (the old laptop goes back to Dell then). Or I can take a chance on the hardware all working. Considering that I’ve had a memory card and keyboard replaced in a couple of previous laptops (with the warranty – so no monetary cost), guess what I will do.
The other is from the City of Toronto Water and Waste department – the notice in the mail says it is “mandatory” to get replacement water meters (or in my case where the meter was replaced 9 years ago – a retrofit) put in. If the old meter is behind a wall in the basement they will remove the wall and not replace it – just put on a cover that can be opened for any future shenanigans (my word choice). For replacing my old water meter back when, no walls were removed – it’s in a closet with lots of space in front and around it but a wall in back – they just moved out items beside it. Who knows what they will do for a retrofit. I haven’t called to book the time – too busy dealing with other worries. But I will be pretty clear on when they can and can’t get in – not until after the middle of June as my work, house and garden schedule is too busy until then.
Back to the seniors’ study on regretting worry. I don’t regret spending time worrying; it’s the “stuff” coming at me and overwhelming me to worry that is my concern. And that’s not regret; that’s resentment.
The “study” does give some advice from some of the seniors. I find one a good idea. Live one day at a time. I just think about the late John Lennon getting gunned down at 40 and his philosophy on living – something about life being what happens when you make other plans.
The article about Dr. Pillemer’s study is at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karl-a-pillemer-phd/how-to-stop-worrying-reduce-stress_b_2989589.html
Sharon A. Crawford
Only Child Writes