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It took over 40 years but somehow I have managed to stop being a compulsive worrier.
I wasn’t born with the affliction nor did I learn it from my mother, who was in a constant state of frenzy, tackling not only her worries but those of everyone she knew–and oftentimes those of people she had only heard of.
I’m not sure when I started worrying, but I think it probably coincided with being a mother for the first time.
And from that point on, it snowballed into a self-contained epidemic in my own head.
I worried about the baby–checking her randomly through the night to ensure she was breathing, and in the course of that action became so fatigued I could barely function.
I worried about money. I worried about other people’s health. I worried about my weight. I worried about other people’s opinions. I worried about worrying.
The turning point–but not the conclusion–came the year Nick, my middle child, was diagnosed with cancer.
Too often I was told, “I don’t know how you do it. I’d be worried to death.”
Truth be told, at first I was mortified, but over the next few weeks I began to see that the negative energy generated from the worry did no one any good. I sloughed off the worry like dry skin from a sunburn and knew that this situation–like so many others–was out of my hands.
It has been a battle to not worry but I am constantly reminded of the Serenity Prayer– “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.”
I believe we each make our own misery and wallowing in self pity is fruitless.
That doesn’t mean I cannot be concerned–and I am about many things.
But for me, the biggest difference between worry and concern is the dwelling.
I try not to dwell.
This week friends dropped by the office, concerned about me, the newspaper, our industry and the trying time we all are facing in this dire economy.
“Are you OK?” They asked.
I could truthfully say, “Yes.”
Because even though newspapers across this nation are closing weekly and the newspaper, like your own family is feeling the impact of a near Depression, we are adapting, modifying and playing the hand we’ve been dealt.
By not dwelling on what could happen, but by focusing our energies on ways to combat a wrinkle, we continue to be a viable part of the community and are even more committed to being the best newspaper Levy County has to offer.
There are very few situations that cannot be handled.
The key to any worry in your life is to be flexible and trust that, and I love this cliched phrase, “it is what it is.”
Too often we try to make more of situations than what they really are.
Mistakes happen. Feelings are hurt. Egos are bruised. Jobs are lost. People we love die. Our health suffers.
But even through the adversities we all face, there remains the ability to change, adapt, confront and move forward.
It is only when we become so rigid that we cannot see the bigger picture and allow worry to consume us in the moment that we are paralyzed.
Worry? Why bother? There are too many other things to be done; adventures to be had and treasures to explore. And I want to save all my energy for those things. You should too.
Carolyn Risner is editor of the Chiefland Citizen.