As teenagers and even now we all have this vague idea of where we assume our lives are going to go. It’s easy to make broad stroke predictions. Easy to assume.
But really. It’s never what you expect.
There you are, living your life, doing your thing. Worrying about the things you assume are going to interfere with your “plan.”
And then there it is. Out of the blue. The thing you never expected. The thing that changes the course of your life forever and sends you spinning out into the unknown.
You’re hearing it from me first.
Guaranteed: That thing is NEVER the thing you expected and worried about.
It’s pulmonary embolism at the happiest moment of a mother’s life.
It’s cancer that steals a dad.
Those people worried about other stuff. Stuff that never happened. It never occurred to them to worry about the things that did.
I have a friend who lives in fear that her children will one day show the effects of the asbestos they were exposed to as babies. She loses sleep over this, and while I never want to trivialize the real risk that something might one day happen, I also want to shake her and make her realize that she’s wasting precious time worrying.
Yes. Shit happens. Real, horrible, life altering shit happens. Trust me. I know.
No amount of fretting, stressing, or worrying will stop it from happening.
Spending hours worrying and focusing on what could happen does not give you a pass from pain and sorrow. There is no magic formula. “If I worry for x hours every day, I’ll be spared the thing I worry about.” No karmic balance. “If I don’t enjoy life too much it won’t get tarnished.”
The Jewish people believe that you never draw attention to the beauty of children so that you don’t attract the Angel of Death’s attention. They believe that you never boast about your blessings and instead you focus on the negatives to stave off bad luck.
You know what? I refuse to live my life like that.
Shit happens whether you spend your whole life anticipating it or your whole life enjoying the time before it comes. The only thing that is affected by those hours of self torture is the quality of your life in that very moment.
Why waste those moments?