Giving up worrying for Lent is going pretty well. Either the things I was worrying about unnecessarily have turned out well (my son found not one but two subletters who will feed his cats and pay his rent) or I have caught myself “sweating the small stuff” and realized how ridiculous I was being.  Even better, this past weekend I managed to stop myself in the midst of a major session of What-Iffing.

What-Iffing  is a close cousin of worrying which wastes just as much time–I can’t make a decision until I have more information, so instead of waiting patiently for that information I go into some strange cloud of being and wander for hours amid imaginary flowchart boxes, sliding up and down arrows and rearranging the boxes. I’m not imagining dire outcomes, but I’m coming up with so many possible responses to various scenarios that I’m running out of alphabet letters. 

The situation is simply that I’m waiting to hear the date of a memorial service that I truly want to attend in southern California. I was planning a trip to Sedona to visit my mother this weekend and may need to postpone it or change my return flight to Burbank. If the memorial service isn’t until the following week, I will have to adjust plans to visit colleges with my daughter, which may or may not bump other activities as well as the music lessons I teach.  My whole highly organized calendar for April depends on one decision over which I have no control.

Control is of course the issue here. We humans have an outsized need to be in control of our lives and to be able to come up with alternate plans when needed.  Plan A: we store up enough food for the winter to stay in this nice cozy cave. Plan B: we move where the game is more plentiful and find or make shelter when we get there.  Plan C: we attack another tribe and steal their winter stash. Somehow the brain circuitry stayed the same despite grocery stores that sell avocados from Chile.

So I will wait patiently, make my plans when I can, and pinch myself every time I wander into the flowchart minefield.

Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines is cancelling hundreds of flights after a plane from Phoenix back to Sacramento developed a hole in the roof.  Should I worry?


Author: 1womanretreat

Kathryn is a freelance writer, musician, and Latin tutor based in the Sierra foothills. She enjoys performing and teaching early music on recorder and flute.

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