For much of my life, I’ve been anxious and worried about things to come.
You know, Sunday afternoons and evenings were a bit dreary because I knew Monday morning would soon be here and I had to go to work.
I worried about possible problems and interactions and how I should handle things. Looking back, I wonder if was just generally not really comfortable in my own skin.
This necessitated that I become a pretty good actor. I could figure out what was expected and I usually filled the role, if I do say so myself, pretty darn well.
You’ve heard of people dying a thousand deaths? Well, I died inside that many times before the actual reality gave me a chance one way or the other.
Kind of like I had not only crossed the bridge, but ran back and forth across it with many different scenarios (all usually horrific accidents), usually before the bridge had even been built.
For a long time I didn’t wonder if there was something wrong with me. I just assumed that everyone felt the same way. Everyone takes a deep breath, and plunges in anyway, keeping up the façade of confidence.
But I’ve been amazed the last few years to learn that there actually are people out there who don’t really worry and anticipate and prepare and live and die over most things.
They just do them.
This concept amazes me. It boggles my mind, but it amazes me. What does it really feel like to just act spur of the moment, deal with whatever, and keep your insides from turning to jelly?
I would imagine pretty great.
A week or so ago I had someone ask me to do them a favor. I will always say yes when asked this question. Kind of two sides of a coin though; I will always say yes, then I will always worry and worry about it.
I guess I could be a true hermit and say no, but certainly Ann would tell me that is heading in the wrong direction. I’d have to agree with her.
Anyway, if this had happened in the past I would have begun immediately to overthink the situation, put it off as long as possible, and then be so nervous when it came up that I’d blow it.
It would fill my waking thoughts, my subconscious dreams, and most importantly my every prayer.
This time, however, I found I was just too tired. I couldn’t get myself wound up because, well, that takes winding.
My spinner had been spun out.
Thank heaven, literally, for prayer.
In my exhaustion I moved right past my worries and straight to the issue at hand. Instead of my pleas being “Help me to do this” I tried a different tactic.
“Please help me just to love everyone involved and to do what is best for them.”
Now that is something to really think about.
It wasn’t about me (although my family would probably tell you that EVERYTHING is about me – you know, after we finish talking about me and it is time to talk about you, my first question is “what do you think about me?”); rather, it really was all about THEM.
My comfort level didn’t matter. My fear that would inhibit me from doing what needed to be done didn’t matter. Even success or failure didn’t really matter.
It just mattered that I did it.
And that I did it for them.
So I did.
And guess what?
For a small moment I felt like one of those amazing people who don’t overthink everything and just get in and get it done.
Perhaps this is what being a grownup is like.
Here’s what I learned:
Fear is generally about me.
The courage to overcome that fear really isn’t about me, although for years I may have thought it would be. I had worked on self-confidence and determination and perhaps even trying to care a little bit less.
But that just doesn’t work for me. My little squirrels keep squeaking. My extra voices of reason tirelessly keep the inner dialogue going.
I seem to care about EVERYTHING.
Someone once told me that the definition of courage was someone who was just too tired to care.
But I don’t think so.
Courage would be someone who in truth cares more – more about others than themselves.
I know that I can do scary things.
Because it’s not about me.
So, how did it feel to just jump in when needed, deal with the situation at hand, and not be a mess on the floor?
It felt pretty great.
Just like a grownup.
Just like a courageously loving grownup.