Why are there so many things to worry about at 2 AM? Sprang out of a conversation I was having with my Mother. A family trait is to worry about everything in life (to the chagrin of our spouses). My claim is that it is a genetic thing, but I guess it is a learned trait (i.e. watching my Mother’s fret taught me that trait).
The worst part of this compulsion is that if you wake up in the middle of the night (and worry can cause this all by itself), suddenly, your mind will start the worry mantra all over. The amount of sleep I have lost by worrying in the middle of the night, I am sure, is shortening my life (it is shortening my sleep, that is for sure).
I am envious of those of you out there who are poo-pooing this and saying, “… why worry, it isn’t worth it…” or “… I have nothing to worry about…”, and I hope you are right because in my life the list of things to worry about is very close to the definition of 1 divided by zero (i.e. infinite).
What do I worry about? Well, you might ask:
- Will I have enough money to retire?
This is not really something that keeps me awake, but it is an excellent catalyst to start the worry cycle, because then my mind is thinking about money, and thus many other money related topics can appear.
- How am I going to get out of debt?
You think I rant about debt because I am somehow speaking from a point of leadership? Hell no! Sometimes my rants are as much aimed at myself as at you good reader.
- Health Issues
I am over 50 and once that happens your health becomes worrisome. If you’ve had a health scare (which I have) and have enough of your joints that are wearing away (again like me), your health can create angst.
- The Job
This one, not so much any more, but for anyone who has been laid off, and had a hard time finding another job, career and job issues can cause no end of topics to keep you awake at night.
Buzz off for anyone about to prescribe antidepressants or suggest counselling (I mean that with the greatest respect). I’ll live with my inner demons. They are controllable, and at times can be helpful motivation to get off my ass and do something. However, I do wish I had not learned How to Worry.
Luckily there is a beneficial bit of advice from the late Zero Mostel (on The Muppet Show). I must count and compel my things to worry about at 2 AM, and then I can quickly dispel them.
I used to worry a lot when I was young, especially at night. My solution came in 2 parts. First, I can’t do anything about my problems in the middle of the night. This became a sort-of mantra. When I found myself worrying at night, I’d just think “there’s nothing I can do about it right now.” This helped me sleep. The second thing I did was to procrastinate less. I started meeting challenges head on or deciding to ignore them if they weren’t very important. It’s usually easier to just solve a problem than it is to worry about it for weeks on end.
I so hear you on all the reasons to worry, I seem to have all the above! Even though I seem to share all your reasons, my biggest is after looking for work for 2 yrs., I finally found a job that I thought would take me through retirement and lo & behold…..was laid off from it this past spring. It’s hard enough trying to find a job when you’re younger but even more difficult when you’re over 55. And then that leads into worrying about money for retirement (when you have to spend savings to live) and……and……and……