We are Worriers

“Coming as I do from a long line of worriers, I have some experience with stress and anxiety.” I was saying. Bellying up to the bar late New Years Eve, a misunderstanding made me realize that only a sound’s breadth stands between worriers and warriors.

“Have you ever seen that movie? Warriors?” Asked the gentleman a few seats down, obviously not listening to me but happy to have a chance to talk again, excitedly “It’s really good! I can lend the video to you if you want, I can bring it here for you to pick up, as long as you promise to give it back when you’re done…”

And I thought, how quaint, this attachment to the old media, when anything worth watching or reading is just a click or a button away from the comfort of my own couch.

But also how close those two words are, worriers and warriors.

Indeed the worriers that I hail from, brave women who worried hard and worked harder, were warriors as well, fighting for their families tooth and nail against the wolf at the door and every last speck of dust, tilting at an indifferent world.

I am certain that a thousand armies could be quelled at the raising of my mother’s eyebrow, and that even at eighty-one my grandmother could be trusted to lead the charge, as she so often had, commanding the assorted friends and family helping with the apple harvest or the cherries, making sure that each fruit was picked correctly and went into the right receptacle, and that next year’s buds went unassaulted.

Hard working and fiercely loving, warriors indeed, but at worrying they also excelled. That talent for staying up at night with useless worry runs in the family, rolling the problems around, trying to wear them down with the power of our love and fear, worrying away at the weight of the world.

I know worry. It’s a problem. A system of checks and balances needs to be set up in order to stem the tide, to keep the anxiety from getting out of control and creating more problems ranging anywhere from depression to snityness. Things that work for me include good friends, yoga, calling my mom, dinners out with wine, running outdoors when it’s fine, movies on a rainy day, hot baths, and newly added this year, kissing friends’ babies. Did you know a baby’s head excretes a pheromone called the best smell in the world? Guaranteed to cure what ails you.

Once again it’s the time for resolutions and evolution, for worrying over the year that was and wondering how we can do better in the next. This year though, instead of spending so much time worrying about how to do things differently, maybe I should try to trust that I will fight just as hard for my small piece of happiness this year as I did last. Rather than give myself a whole new list of things to worry about not doing, I think I might just go smell that baby’s head or have a long hard snuggle with my cat. Did you know that the softest spot, right at the corner of a cat’s ears (or teepees) is made of the same stuff as what makes pomegranates such a marvelous fruit? That’s right, teepees are nature’s secret antioxidants.  Kissing a cat’s ears will add ten minutes to your life, and that’s a per kiss ratio. Isn’t that amazing?

Amazing! Well, it’s all very nice in theory, but I know I’ll just keep right on worrying anyway. It’s in my blood. I will continue to worry long into the night and battle bravely upon the dawn. Bring it on 2014! We are worriers, but we are also warriors.

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