BY JILL PERTLER
I used to worry. About a lot of things.
I used to worry about what other people had and what I didn’t and then I realized I didn’t use or need half of what I had anyway, and life went on.
I used to worry that I wasn’t old enough and then I woke up one morning and worried maybe I was too old, and I saw the lack of logic in that and decided I was simply the perfect age, right here, right now, and besides it’s all I was capable of being. And life went on.
I used to worry about a clean house. I still do, sometimes, I guess, but a dirty house is no indication of the level of happiness inside. A dirty house indicates living. Living is good. It’s a lot better than merely existing in a perfectly clean house.
I used to worry about impressing people and then I came to understand that it isn’t what others think of me, but what I think of myself.
I used to worry about acquiring more things. Now I worry about how I’m going to get rid of things and live with less clutter and more clarity.
I used to worry about expressing my viewpoints and opinions because they might not line up with someone else’s and that would cause discord. Then I learned to live with a little discord or at least ignore it and not let it own me. I realized there is no possible way to please everyone so I might as well just be myself and go on with life in the best way I know how.
I used to worry about the future and then the future became the now and I came to understand that everything unfolds at its own pace with its own plan and ruminating about it isn’t going to change anything. It is only going to change me – in a negative way by stealing time and energy that is better spent in other ways to help life move forward.
I used to worry about bad things happening and then I learned to count the things I am grateful for and I found I always have more gratitude than bad possibilities, so it’s easier, actually, to be grateful than to worry.
I used to worry about finding happiness or achieving contentment and then I realized they are things no one can find or achieve. We can’t find them in another person, experience or inanimate object. They are choices inside each of us. They aren’t bestowed upon us; we bestow them upon ourselves.
I used to worry that others were smarter than me, richer than me, better looking than me, faster than me, more hip than me and all things better than me and I realized that even if this were true, which it probably is, that it was okay because my life is my life and I’m pretty used to it the way it is and being smarter, brighter, richer or better looking isn’t all that important anyway. I’ve got what I need.
I used to worry about writing this column every week. What if the words dried up at some point? Now I realize there will be a day when the words are absent, and it will be time to move on to other things and that will be okay. For now, I’m thankful that I still have things to say.
I used to worry about worrying and that maybe I worried too much, and I decided it was probably true, but the only remedy was to stop myself in my own tracks. So I did, finally, and life went on, as usual.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.
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