Musings: Worried Waldo

After writing my post yesterday about being good at problems solving, I started to ponder my greatest flaw. While I’m sure I have many, the one that immediately comes to mind is my penchant for worrying about anything and everything. Well, that and my inability to make decisions, but that’s derived from my incessant worrying, so it doesn’t count.

Ever since I was 5 or so, my mom has always commented on how incredibly nervous I make myself over mundane things. By the time I was 6, I insisted on wearing a life jacket at the beach at all times, just in case a huge wave came. I clearly never thought of how I wound fend for myself when the rest of my non-life jacket wearing family was swept away, but it was half of a good idea.

In elementary school, I’d get pretty stressed about being prepared for school. One time, I left my homework at my dad’s house (I spent the weekends with my pops and the weeks with my mom). I freaked out so hard that my parents had to drive an hour each way to make sure I had it for school on Monday. I even made my them take me to school during the summer to find my classroom so that I would know where to go on my first day.

It wasn’t until high school that I found a bit of relief. It was somewhere around the beginning of 9th grade that I realized that I could either endlessly worry about something or decide to not give a shit at all. To this day, those are my only two mechanisms for coping with anything.

This sums things up pretty well.

I took the slacker approach throughout most of high school, doing the minimum amount of work while maintaining straight A’s (which takes a shockingly small amount of effort). I didn’t read a single assigned book, solely because they were assigned. At the same time that I was ignoring my work, I was stressing myself out about swimming. Whenever we would have meets, I wasn’t capable of thinking of much else for the entire day. I still get butterflies when I smell chlorine. Conversely, I never got nervous about playing shows with my band. No matter how bad we were, it just never affected me. For no reason in particular, I couldn’t be bothered with worrying myself over getting on stage.

My paradoxical moods became even more extreme in college. Months of procrastinating, avoiding work, and generally neglecting my education would give way to obsessive study streaks and unsafe levels of stress. 30 seconds after walking out of exams, I completely abandoned any emotional connection with the test, regardless of how well or poorly I thought I may have done. By my senior year, when I was worried about getting a job, stress took over for completely. From September, when it was clearly too early to be trying to find something, until I got my job offer in April, I couldn’t help but stress about unemployment, day in and day out.

Ohhhh shit...how am I ever going to get this ring back to Mordor?

I was sincerely hoping that this whole thing would subside once I got into the working world. WRONG AGAIN. I still flip-flop from irresponsibly low levels of caring to intensive worrying about dumb things. Right now, I like to stress myself out about the logistics of moving all my stuff into my new apartment…in the end of July. On the one hand, this is why I’m always well prepared for this type of thing. On the other, I’ve probably taken a few years off my life already. I’m just glad that the grays haven’t started sprouting yet. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think that I’ll return to not caring about anything for the rest of tonight. See you tomorrow!

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