Years ago, I used to have this mantra: “The things you worry about usually don’t happen.” It was true. The fears never, ever materialized: I was never fired from a job; a roommate never kicked me out of my apartment; no one ever climbed up my fire escape in the middle of the night and broke in. Instead, of course, an entirely different set of bad things happened to me, stuff that I hadn’t anticipated or prepared for. And you know what? Everything turned out OK. More than OK, really: I love my job; I met my partner for life; I earn enough money to live on; and everyone I care about is healthy. I’m so OK it’s boring — and all the time I spent worrying about the now ex-bosses and ex-roommates seems, well, wasted.But I seem to have forgotten that mantra of mine. I’ve been getting so consumed with fears lately, pointless ones that really aren’t doing anything but feeding off each other and multiplying. It feels kind of like looking around the kitchen and seeing a roach scuttle under the toaster, behind the fridge, up the wall and into the cabinet. They’re just kind of everywhere. I realize, intellectually, they don’t make any sense and that I’m wasting time and energy worrying when I could be, say, writing a book proposal or something. I just feel done with being afraid.
So here’s a list of what I’m done with being afraid of. If you want, you can tell us your fears that you’re done with in the comments.
- My boyfriend dies in a car accident or a plane crash.
- I die in a plane crash or a terrorist attack on the subway.
- I’m in debt to student loans, the tax man, credit card companies, and God only knows who else I’m forgetting, forever.
- I am a laughingstock.
- More of my “friends” turn out to not really be friends.
- I run into this guy I used to fool around with, and his girlfriend whom he cheated on with me, in public and they humiliate me.
- My boyfriend stops loving me.
- I fall apart (er, am forcefully “broken open”) from depression again and it takes me even longer than before to get out.
- There is another lump in my breast, but this time it won’t turn out to be nothing. And I’ll be screwed because I don’t have health insurance.
- The people I look up to and admire don’t want anything to do with me.
- I am fired from my job and can’t even get a job working at Starbucks or Urban Outfitters (which is actually an entirely reasonable fear because I flunked job interviews at both of those places).
- Twenty years from now, I regret stuff I did when I was younger.
- I accidentally get pregnant and have to make a decision about having a much-wanted but ill-timed child.
- My parents get old and sick and suffer.
These are the fears I’m done with. What are yours?