I like to consider myself an eternal optimist. But the only truth in that statement is the “like to”. In practice, I am usually anything but. I prefer to take a situation, think of the very worse outcome, and then react (in my head) as if that is what will happen. In my twisted way of thinking this prepares me for the worst, while letting me breathe of sigh of relief when things end up not turning out so bad. For example: If I’m at the airport getting ready to fly overseas for a meet and my plane is 30 minutes delayed, within a span of maybe 10 seconds I have already assumed that the plane will be more than 30 minutes late, I will miss my connection, have to stay overnight in another city, arrive the day before my competition with dead legs, and have to really dig deep to find the energy to compete well. And what happens when the plane is really only 30 minutes late and everything goes smoothly? “Whew!” Bullet dodged.
This warped way of thinking shows up in other areas of my life as well. Most people who know me (read: exes) can probably attest to my argumentative skills. It makes sense that I would have multiple, thought out, thoroughly exhaustive points to prove…I have already had these conversations in my head, many times over. This is one of my favorite pastimes before bed — conversations with other people where I not only play out my side of the discussion, but theirs as well. I can literally become teary-eyed because of a make-believe conversation.
But the whole point in sharing these slightly neurotic parts of my personality with you is to have you help me calm down just a little. I am dealing with something right now that could possibly be a huge misfortune, but it could also turn out to be not such a big deal after all. I will find out soon enough, but in the meantime I’m trying to keep my desire to panic and prepare for catastrophe to a minimum. It’s the planner in me that wants to jump ahead and make sure I have strategies in place in case I do have to deal with some unfortunate news but I feel like what I’m doing to myself in the meantime is adding premature wrinkles and grey hairs that I will regret 10 years from now when I’m forced to get botox and dye my hair every 6 weeks.
So much of what we worry about is unimportant. We see things with such a narrow focus when the big picture is being taken care of in the way that is always best for us. Please remind me of that. Or…just let me know that you are as neurotic as I am and maybe I won’t feel so bad.