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Day 30 - Worry Less, Live More

Level 8

My grandpa used to say that 99% of the things you worry about never happen… which just goes to show that all that worrying works.

Unfortunately, sometimes it feels like that’s my life motto.

My name is Alli, and I am a worrier.

A little bit of worry is healthy. It’s what keeps you from being totally reckless and potentially in a bad spot. After all, like Grandpa said, worrying about bad things prevents them from happening, right?

But worrying can also prevent good things from happening.

I’ve gradually come to realize that when you worry less and live more, amazing things start to happen. Once-in-a-lifetime opportunities become realities. Facing your fears ends up bringing you irreplaceable joy. Taking a risk pays off and might turn out to be one of the smartest things you’ve done.

Younger Alli, remember all the times you were worried that the upside-down rollercoaster was going to be too scary or too intense for you, but your sister made you go on it anyways? You ended up loving that ride, and you caught the adrenaline bug. Nowadays, your worry about rollercoasters is proportionate to the number of loops they contain, but you’re getting a lot braver.

Younger Alli, remember that time in elementary school when you unexpectedly made a really good friend because you stopped worrying what the popular kids thought of you? They made fun of her, but you saw her for who she truly is: a crazy fun, eccentric, beautiful soul.

Younger Alli, do you remember the time when you spent an entire summer having to re-study for the AP European History test because the entire school had to retake their exams? That caused you a lot of worry and stress, on top of all the worry and stress that’s a natural part of being a teenager. But it turned out okay in the end. You did even better the second time around.

Younger Alli, be reassured by the fact that while I’m telling you that you should worry less, I still struggle every day to take my own advice.

This year, I moved halfway across the country, away from family, away from my newborn nephew. Let me tell you, I worried a LOT about all the things that could go wrong with that. But everything fell into place perfectly. Even though I’m far away from my family, moving was a really good decision. (In fact, if I hadn’t made that decision, I wouldn’t have written this blog post.)

I recently started playing this really cool, really fun, really nerdy game called Dungeons & Dragons. I immediately fell in love with playing it, but when I started actually RUNNING the game, that came with a lot of worry. What if I’m not a good Dungeon Master? What if my players don’t like me? What if I have to break play to look something up? But as I get more experience with Dungeons & Dragons, I’m finding it a lot easier to not worry, and the games start getting even more fun.

Do some of the things I worry about merit worry? Certainly. But I see it over and over and over again: when I dial down the worry, good things happen.

Turns out Grandpa was right. (Well, maybe not the part where the worrying is what keeps bad things from happening, but that’s beside the point.) In most cases, my worries are just head trash holding me back.

Younger Alli—and present-day Alli—you really need to worry less and live more.

24 Comments
Level 9

Your letter speaks to me.  I can see myself in it.  How right your Grandpa was. All my life I have allowed my worries to dictate my actions except one brief period. The last 3 years of college I was able to let worry go and enjoy my life. Many good this came of that time. I pledged a great fraternity, made several wonderful friends, met and married my beautiful wife. None of this would have happened if I didn’t let worry go and just live my life. For whatever reason I was not able to continue this after graduating. I often look back on those 3 years and try to understand what I was able to do then I can’t seem to do now. I wish they would come up with a pill to help you keep things in perspective. Why worry about what you cannot control. Do your best, learn and grow, enjoy the life you have been gifted.

MVP
MVP

I was a constant worrier when younger; worrying about what others thought, what I was doing, where I would be going, etc. Now, I'm firmly in the "worry less and live more" camp! While I do worry about some things, it's a lot less than before.

Great advice! Reflecting on some of the important moments in my life (at least the ones I'm comfortable sharing), there isn't a single one where worry wasn't present. Overcoming doubt and building confidence will change your life for the better. There are those lucky few who are born with natural charisma, but 99% of the world feels the same way you do... panicking on the inside, constantly. Worry, doubt and especially fear are paths to the dark side. All of these situations are examples of when I almost let my doubt and worry get the best of me, but they turned into defining moments that made me a stronger person.

I also ran my first game of D&D recently, I was petrified. This reddit post and comment sum things up nicely.

When I was at THWACKCamp 2017 in person, and got asked to be on camera, I worried that I would make a fool of myself. It broke down barriers and gave me the courage to eventually present at a SWUG.

In 2013 I worried that I wasn't experienced enough to get the job, so I didn't bother applying. My (now) manager had to convince me otherwise. Now I love every aspect of this job and my career.

In 2009 I was worried that jumping into a new relationship would be a mistake, because I was trying to hold on to the train wreck that was my previous one. My wife and I are now happily married.

In 2006 I worried that I couldn't handle the accelerated math course as a high school freshman. Little did I know it would save me thousands of dollars in college credit.

Level 11

Worry is like a rocking chair, it keeps you entertained but gets you no where fast.

Or

know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum

I think these quotes say it best.

Level 14

Excellent article. And great advice from your grandfather. There is a lot of wisdom from older folks if you're willing to hear it. I've been trying to foster a sense of peace and wisdom in my kids and one of them i fear is giving me quite the challenge. She likes to worry about many things should should be of no concern. Thanks for sharing!

janobi​ I have heard it said in a slightly different way, that constant worrying is like trying to travel around the world using a rocking. A lot of motion but you don't get far.

Worry is one of those words whose context makes a difference as its connotations vary widely. When you worry about a plan you will pay attention to all the little tasks necessary for success. I bet allison.rael​ that when you decided to move you figured out where you were going to live, how you would get your belongings from one place to another, the commute from your new place to your new job, and on and on. Which I hope avoided a bunch of bad things from occurring. Of course it never is perfect - having moved a half dozen times myself I can guarantee that- but because 99% of it goes smoothly dealing with the 1% of issues is easier.

I also appreciate the allegory that says Negative emotions are like birds that come flying through your mind. The trick is not to let them make a nest and stay long. Hence a little worry is a good thing, obsessive worrying means the flock set up a brooding colony and things are going to get messy.

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I come from a line of worriers as well. I have turned it into a career, Business Continuity Professional. I am also a hit at parties!  🙂 

A healthy dose of worry, skepticism, preparedness, and other emotions and moods will do you right in life.

Thanks for your encouraging words to worry less. As a native southern German worrying is deeply rooted in my genes.

always a good reminder to let aside those worrying thoughts.

Level 10

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”

really good advise.   I am not a worrier as much as I was, i am now a stresser.   I am not sure it is a word but I will use it anyway.   I tend to stress more because i am a afraid at times to lose all i have gained.   I think its good to have fear it means you have something to lose.   I am not afraid to lose my stuff, that is material, temporal, i am more afraid to lose my memory, my reflexes, my love, my passion, my hope, my dreams...   I stress at work because i want things to be perfect all the time.   IT means it never will be perfect but we monitor it so we know how imperfect it is.  

I used to worry about little things, now I do not stress out all the time or worry about what is out of my control. I realize control what you can and let everything else happen.   You are right, good things happen when you simply start to live life.

Level 12

I worry way so much about things i will stay up all night wearing holes out in the carpeting pacing the floors. This is going to be my New Year's resolution. Dont worry so much and live more.

MVP
MVP

I always used to say to my mother that she is the most worried, when she has nothing to worry about.

Fear and Worry are twins of negative emotion. We need them to keep ourselves safe, but they can prevent truly amazing life experiences and paths. The final line says it all - Worry Less Live More

Level 9

Great post! I am not a worrier but I do live with one.  My wife struggles with anxiety.  I have learned over the years that sometimes she just needs me to listen and say "It's going to be okay". 

Level 15

wonderful post. also, welcome to the addiction!

Agreed.  Too much of life is spent worrying.  And there are MANY memes and motivational (or de-motivational) posters talking about worry.

But on the other hand worrying sometimes serves useful purposes.  It may help you visualize a workflow's potential problems.  Once you imagine them ahead of time you may recognize them and avoid them.

If I become alerted to driving hazards, worrying about animals crossing the road at night in front of me, or running into roads covered with black ice in the winter, or envisioning someone not being able to stop at an intersection because they are distracted . . .     All of these "worries" are beneficial if I leverage them to increase my awareness, change my behavior, slow my pace according to conditions--and I may avoid an accident.

Back to the first hand, worrying about things we cannot control is a shortcut to high blood pressure, stress, anxiety, depression, or worse.

Life is simply a mix of understanding what's not worth worry and what IS worth worry.

Level 20

MVP
MVP

I too, spent a lot of my life as a worrier (and I did use that "motto"). It was a difficult thing to admit and an even much more difficult thing to overcome. You generally get what you are looking for and much of my early life was filled with things that weren't quite what I wanted. As I've grown I've learned to let things go and keep my focus on what I am actually responsible for and move forward - enjoying the journey.

Level 14

Only worry about the stuff that worrying about can affect.  If worrying about something won't affect the outcome then what's the point.  Spend your energy somewhere where it will make a difference. 

Level 8

Those are great!

Level 8

Ah, that is wonderful. Thanks! I'm DMing 2-3 days a week now, and I only started playing in March...

Level 8

Yes! A little bit of worry is good. I have a tendency to worry about things that don't merit worry. Like how long is it going to take me to get to the airport that's 10 miles away and I've driven to 50 times? Better look on Google Maps even though I know the way there and how long it takes!

Level 8

Look, an actual picture of me worrying about things! haha

Level 8

Thank you all for your comments! I am really going to focus this year on not worrying so much, and just letting myself live life.

When they told us to implement NAC via Cisco ISE.