Monday, January 14, 2013

The Worry Displacement Solution

I haven't posted for a while, but that doesn't mean I've stopped worrying. Lately, I've been particularly worried about my failure to post a new blog about worrying. Have I run out of things to say? I haven't run out of things to worry about, that's for sure.

The harder I try not to worry, the more worried I become. Like alcohol, cigarettes, or chocolate ice cream, worry is apparently addictive. Living with E. has made the depth of my addiction particularly apparent, since he's not a worrier.

Oddly, on the rare occasions when E. does become worried, I calm right down. Recently, as we were about to leave for the airport, he realized he couldn't find his driver's license. He became understandably anxious and began frantically searching for it. I reacted with composure. I reminded him that he could bring his passport along as a photo I.D. and I could drive the rental car once we reached our destination. While in this state of serenity,  I methodically retraced his steps and located his license in the pocket of the slacks he'd been wearing the prior evening.

While I enjoyed the rare role reversal, I felt as if I were disturbing the natural order of things. I was born to worry and E. is meant to assure me there's nothing to worry about. Balance was soon restored. As we headed for the airport, E. with his license in hand, I realized that had he not found it I would have worried for the entire flight about my promise to drive the rental car once we reached our destination.

Not that I'm a bad driver. Actually, I like to drive and I'm pretty good at it. But, as with so many other aspects of my life, I worry. About taking the wrong exit. About crazy drivers on the road. About getting a speeding ticket. I've begun to believe my worries are a displacement solution—if I worry about the small things, about every small thing, I can avoid paying attention to problems that are truly worthy of worry. And maybe even worthy of a blog entry.

Perhaps in future posts I'll try to tackle some of those big worries, the ones we all share, along with those that are uniquely the product of my own anxious mind. For the moment, though, at least I can cross one worry off my list. I've finally posted a new blog entry!