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Why Worrying Is A Waste Of Our Time

by jenny sansouci on January 17, 2015

I was having coffee with my friend Colin yesterday at Hu Kitchen (ok, I wasn’t just having coffee, I was having their “crack coffee” (aka Bulletproof Coffee) which contained unsalted grass-fed butter and coconut oil. Let’s just say that particular combination made for some really great, introspective conversation.

He and I used to be co-workers at Everyday Health way back in the day, before I left to pursue the wild, wild west of blogging as a career. One of the things that we talked about particularly stuck with me, so I wanted to share it with you guys.

He said (something along the lines of), “If I could go back now and tell the version of myself from years ago about all the awesome things that were gonna happen in my life, I would have never been worried or anxious.”

I agreed. I know! If I could go tell myself from a few years ago what my life would look like at the beginning of 2015, I would have been walking around with a constant annoying grin on my face.

Because guess what? We all have to take the journey to get from A to B, usually knowing very little about how we’re actually gonna get there. Our flashlight only lights up a small portion of the path in front of us, it doesn’t illuminate the entire road.

If you think back over your entire life, you’ll probably remind yourself that things DO work out, things DO fall into place, things DO change, nothing is permanent – especially any low-level emotion you might be feeling right now.

Reminds me of one of my favorite Offspring songs, Days Go By. 🙂 “Those days go by, and we all start again.”

Also, John Mayer – Age of Worry. “Smile in the age of worry, and say worry – why should I care?”

I remember when I fled from NYC back in 2012 and moved to LA for a few months to get through a particularly difficult time. I spent almost every day walking from Wilcox Avenue to Runyon Canyon, listening to those songs. Even though I was in some pain, it was a really special time, because I KNEW I would come out on the other side, I knew things were changing BIG TIME, and knowing that, I was actually enjoying the process – and I look back on it as a very sweet and healing time. Next time I’m in LA, I think I’ll take that exact walk again and probably cry because life just works out SO much more beautifully than I could have even known at the time.

Perspective is the hardest thing to have sometimes, though. We know our emotions change day to day, hour to hour. We know our financial situations, our relationships, our friendships, our living situations – we know all of those things DO change. Nothing stays stagnant.

The funny thing is, as Colin and I were saying — doesn’t it always seem like things tend to get ALMOST to the point where you’re freaking out and going to spontaneously combust before that change happens? It’s almost laughable. It’s like you can be working towards something or wanting something to change for months and months and months, but the actual change seems to happen overnight, one day it just happens, and always when you were about to throw in the towel. But change does happen.

I like to remind myself of this anytime I’m worried that something isn’t happening quickly enough or I can’t adequately foresee how a certain situation could ever POSSIBLY change. But then it does. And always, if I could have gone back and told my former self how it was going to work out, I wouldn’t have been worried. HILARIOUS.

The thing is, we can’t always KNOW what’s gonna happen before it does. Sometimes we can have an idea, of course, a vision, a dream, a desire. But we can’t know where every path is going to take us. We can’t know the exact moment that something will “fall into our lap” or that life will take a turn that we never would have even thought to dream up.

We can, however…trust.

We can remind ourselves that things always do change. Always. That’s the nature of life. And guess what – 10 years from now I’m sure I’ll say the same thing “If I could go back and tell my 2015 self about all the cool things that would happen between 2015 and 2030, I’d be skipping down the street laughing and throwing money at people.” (Well that’s a little extreme but who knows, hopefully that is the case).

The point of all of this is to say, maybe we can worry less, knowing that whatever we’re trying to figure out, or whatever obstacle we’re currently facing — WILL get figured out, will change, will transform. Just because we don’t know every single thing now doesn’t mean it’s not gonna happen.

There’s a reason we can’t see into the future – because we’re supposed to LIVE our way into it. And be honest – if you had the choice, you’d probably want to keep it that way.

Life can feel magical or life can feel like it’s always against us, depending on our outlook, and our belief about life.

Do you believe that everything is going to work out? I do, for the most part, and when I forget, I remind myself — HEY — remember those times you were worried about something? And remember how it DID finally fall into place? That’s right. It will happen again. Maybe not the way you think. Maybe not exactly the way you plan. But life will shift, and you’ll be led to new adventures and new incredible people who you haven’t even met yet. Isn’t that awesome? It’s a beautiful thing to know that some of your best friends are still out there waiting to be met, or in some cases maybe not even born yet. WHAT! I just think that’s so cool.

When I think about some of the closest people in my life today, and the incredible experiences I’ve had, I honestly couldn’t have planned any of it, or known any of it ahead of time. They have all come as a result of me living my life with my eyes open, working on being the best Jenny I can be with the tools I currently have available until I learn better tools, and believing that great things will come into my path as a result. It works pretty well.

Worrying is a waste because all it does is make your TODAY feel worse. And THAT’s not very logical, is it? If you keep a worrying mindset or expect the worst all the time, that’s all just a made-up story in your head that isn’t making your life any happier in this moment (which is all we have) — and that’s just a really non-fun way to live.

Life is a beautiful thing and we don’t know how long we’re gonna be hanging out here, so let’s try to make it the best we can possibly make it. Ok!?!?

Just my thought for the day.

Love,
Jenny

 




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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Adriana McKinnon January 17, 2015 at 9:04 pm

Thank you so very much for such inspirational words of encouragement! I have been struggling for months about things not happening “quickly” and just feeling miserable and forgetting to enjoy my life.

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jenny sansouci January 18, 2015 at 11:54 am

Thanks for reading! I know, it’s so easy to forget. I need to remind myself all the time!!

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