Monday, January 16, 2012

Life, Death and Worry

I'll admit I worry more than the average person.  I keep an eye on the parking lot just in case something happens to our car.  I don't leave the dryer running when I leave home just in case it explodes into flame while I'm gone.  I give my husband a real goodbye hug every time he leaves the house, just in case it may be the last time I see him.  I wonder if the apartment will be burgled every time we go somewhere for a long weekend.  But we still go.  We still live here, I still use the dryer, I don't forbid my husband to go on deployment, or ask that he give up his career for a safer job.  Does that make me reckless?  I think not.

Perhaps I am paranoid, but I've heard it described as being concerned rather than worried.  I've managed to be "hyper-concerned" without becoming paralyzed by the "what-if's" that confront me each day.  What if this hamburger has e. coli?  What if that strange pain in my neck is meningitis?  What if I have a horrible car accident?  What if I DIE?  Just because people have been known to die doing ordinary things like living in the city, driving on the interstate, and staying in hotels is no reason to avoid these activities at all cost.  The evil burglars may indeed trash our apartment while we visit family out of state; they may destroy all our worldly possessions, steal our identities, ruin our credit.  Or they may not.  I can't control that, and it doesn't do me any good to worry about it beyond taking the normal precautions, locking the doors and windows.  My parents - particularly my father - raised us to have a healthy vigilance for purse-snatchers, rapists, thieves, kidnappers, and crazed gunmen, but they didn't forbid us to leave the house.  We have a duty to be functional adults despite all that, and an obligation to teach our children to be functional as well.

It's a dangerous world, but we have to live in it.  If you can't accept the possibility of random catastrophic accidents and the proverbial bad things that happen to good people, perhaps you have a vocation to the cloister.  I don't want to cripple the one life I have with irrational fears.  After all, none of us makes it out of this world alive anyway.


  1. I'm not a worrywart at all ... perhaps sometimes I don't even worry enough. But I can't hang up a phone call with my husband without saying "I love you" because YOU JUST NEVER KNOW. It could be THE LAST TIME. And if I don't do it, I find myself wondering if maybe that will be it, that the last words I said to him will end up being "Oh, and don't forget to take the trash to the curb."

    Silly? Maybe a little. But I think most of us do that at least about some things!

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