When I was born the nurse held me up to the light and proclaimed: “Congratulations, it’s a worrier!” It was the first word I learnt to spell, the first word I uttered in my cot, the first adjective I grasped with both hands and wrestled to the floor bare-fisted. My mum knew the truth the first time she took me to the park and saw the terror in my eyes at kids barely grasping metal bars and swinging. I just wanted to go home and read a book in solitude…
My worrier qualities were evident from a young age. I cried at nursery when the roof was being repaired and it rained, as I thought we’d drown. I howled at steam coming from saucepans on the stove as I thought the house would burn down. I eyed every airplane as a metal missile about to fall from the sky and drop on my head. Living with me as a child wasn’t easy.
In my teenage years the cold war raged and I lived in perpetual fear of nuclear attack: I was so concerned I bought CND earrings and wore them stubbornly. When Chernobyl struck I went into meltdown and wrote poetry to fend off the inevitable. I held my breath but the inevitable never happened.
Luckily, in adulthood I’ve learnt to chill out a little. In my 20s I still sweated the small stuff, still couldn’t see the wood for the trees. Bigger picture you say? Sorry, haven’t seen it. Today though, I’m far more happy and content, mainly because I’ve learnt there’s only so much in life you can control and the rest simply isn’t up to you however much you try.
So sure, I still worry about missing trains and I still worry about the DJ at my wedding next year playing a Jive Bunny megamix but all I can tell him is no and hope he listens. As for the rest of it? Planes might land on your head, wars might start and roof tiles might come loose but the world still turns and nobody else really cares so I’ve learnt to follow their lead.