I have often said that one of the nice things about being single is that you have the chance to identify and work on some of your major flaws before subjecting a spouse to their full force.
Ever since I was a tiny girl, I have been an Olympic Gold Medal worrier. I worried about earthquakes and house fires, my dad being on airplanes, salamanders in the swimming pool, being obedient enough, big black dogs, walking to school alone, being left out at recess, my grades, what other kids thought of me, pleasing teachers, if I would ever be able to live in an apartment by myself and not be scared at night, how I would tell a boy I had to ask my mom first when he asked if I would marry him. I can remember laying in bed on night in high school, staring at the ceiling and worrying that I only had time to take the ACT's once and if I didn't get a good enough score then for sure I wouldn't get into college and I'd have to work at Deseret Book for the rest of my life. I worried about it so long, and it got so late, that then I worried for a bit about how early I had to get up and how much time I had wasted thinking about the ACT's.
So here I am, fifteen years later and I still lie in bed and stare at the ceiling and invent things to worry about. Losing my job, the altitude of the Wasatch Back, accidentally missing a credit card payment, my car getting stolen, missing a huge work deadline, leaving my cell phone somewhere (I panic about this at least once a day). I am so good at this that sometimes I can worry about two opposite things at once. Like sitting in my mom's ward in Utah last month and freaking out that all the girls there were my age and had three or four kids and I have zero kids and none on the horizon but also very concerned that I definitely didn't want to trade lives with any of them either.
Chronic worrying is exhausting enough when it's just me but I imagine it could be doubly annoying to someone who doesn't have the benefit of knowing how my brain arrived at these ridiculous concerns. And I also imagine that becoming a parent will open the door to hundreds of thousands of new things to worry about. From what might the baby choke on to why isn't the teenager in by midnight to what if I don't do a good job of teaching them to be productive members of society?
I have a worrier mother, and some worrier siblings so I think some of this is hereditary. It might be impossible for me to stop completely. And some of my worrying really does motivate me to work hard and feel love and concern for the people around me so I certainly don't want to lose that. But I have set a goal to slow down the useless worry. I'm starting out small, trying to get my nighttime ceiling staring under control. I will think about good, calm, happy things. If something is really sticking in my head as I fall asleep I will get up and write it down so it's out. But I won't think about work, I won't play out worst case scenarios about boys or friends or big black dogs. I will not think about money or the state of the world.
As we speak I am snuggled in my bed with my laptop propped up on a pillow. I figured I would do my favorite thing RIGHT before I fall asleep, get my brain nice and empty and then SHUT DOWN.
Here we go...