Tuesday, February 26, 2013

An Empty Today


I’m a worrier. Or at least, I am innately—I've worked very hard to suppress that tendency.

As a terminal realist, I've taught myself to look at situations with objectivity and gallows humour, and worries tend to dissolve when you add a dose of quirky perspective.

I never use to—suppress worry, that is—until I had kids. Any parent will tell you worry can be overwhelming when you’ve got a new baby, and having older kids doesn’t quell the brooding—it just changes the subject matter.

It doesn't help that Mr Lannis has the same anxiousness bred into him. We'd circled through digestive-related spirals of doom because there was sand in our firstborn's diaper—OMG! His intestines are dissolving into grit! How do you shit sand WHEN YOU'VE NEVER BEEN TO A GODDAMN BEACH?!—only to realize a day later that it was the byproduct of a newly added dietary staple: Cheerios.

Surprise! ::headdesk::

I never used to worry about my worrying (heh), until my son was diagnosed with mild anxiety. He’s a worrier, too.

Fucking lovely.

(Heh. The kid comes by it honestly.)

So I started analysing the world and our inherent worries in order to better prepare him. He's now seven. He needs to be a kid and enjoy his life, to let go of those concerns and actually live.

We’ve developed a couple of coping strategies, and one of our repeated exchanges goes like this:

Me: Who’s job is it to worry?

Him: Yours.
Me: What’s your job?
Him [occasionally said with dejection]: To go to school and learn and have fun...

It’s laughable, to hear him grumble that reply, but it works. Soon after this reminder his shoulders will lift and he’ll bounce away to play.

Since he’s a perceptive little guy, he latches onto the serious subjects around him. Birth. Death. Poverty. You name it. It’s not that he’s exposed to any of this on a regular basis, but he’s a solemn kid, and thinks a lot. Considers. Asks questions.

Naturally, we discuss his concerns.

And since he carries so much so heavily with his anxiety, I regularly have to remind him it’s not his job to worry about things—that’s an adult’s job.

This is where Pinterest comes in again, with its snapshot of wisdom...

I’m debating putting this on a canvas and hanging it in my house. It illustrates exactly what Mr Lannis and I are trying to teach ourselves and our boys.

There’s no point in worrying because it’s energy wasted. If there’s something bothering you, there’s either nothing you can do about it—in which case no reason to worry—or there is something you can do, in which case there’s also no reason to worry... you just need to go do that thing that’ll fix whatever it is.

So many people need to learn this. Kids and adults, alike.

Stop emptying your today. Please.

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