When I was growing up, I was taught to worry. I’m not sure if it had anything to do with growing up Jewish but over time, I somehow came to believe that if I worried enough over something, I actually had the power to produce a positive outcome.
On the flip side of that there was joy. Now that was something to avoid. Joy was bad. If you enjoyed something, if you relaxed into a situation too quickly or even at all, you could pretty much guarantee yourself it would be gone by morning.
And there was no way to cheat around it. You couldn’t start out feeling joy and then at the last second turn to worry and expect things to go right. On the flip side, you couldn’t start out worrying, feel joy, then go back to worrying and still get what you wanted. There was no mixing and matching here. Worry equaled a good life, Joy, well, look up because I think I see another shoe dropping.
When I was trying to conceive my daughter, I had a very difficult time. After about a year, her father and I went to seek help and still came up empty. To say I worried and worried over this is to put it mildly. One day, after getting yet another set of negative results, the nurse pulled me aside and said, “the only way this is going to work is if you stop worrying.” “Not until I get pregnant.” I told her. “Well, I’m telling you, in my experience, if you don’t relax and start enjoying yourself, you may never be able to.”
Of course, all I could think was, how do you explain to someone, who was clearly NOT Jewish, that worrying was the only way people like me ever got anything. The look in her eyes was so earnest, I didn’t have the heart to try and explain myself so I just nodded my head and agreed to “go out and have some fun for a change.”
It just so happened that during that time, my husband and I were scheduled to take a long awaited vacation. Now when I say vacation, I mean the kind where you try and see the whole country in under six days. We went from museum to castle to restaurant to show, leaving me literally no time to worry.
I now have a daughter who will soon be turning four and every time she gets upset I tell her, “nothing good ever comes from worrying. Trust me, you certainly didn’t.”
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