Posted in advice

Don’t Sweat it

I have written about worrying before in this blog, but I find in my conversations with people that they spend a lot of time doing it.  Not saying how we feel or what we may be thinking because it might hurt someone’s feelings.  Not doing what needs to be done because we worry about how it may be taken.  Worrying about what other people have, and trying to keep up with them.  Worrying about what other people do with their money and their time.

Worry is a symptom of a greater problem, and for every person the disease may be different.  The problem is that a lot of times we put ourselves in the very situations that we start to worry about.  To a certain degree life is a constant comparison between us and our peers.  When our friend gets a new car, we have a desire to have a new car.  If our niece or nephew excels in something, we want to push our kids to excel in something too.  When our kid gets into the advanced classes other people push their kids to get into the advanced classes.  And when it comes to colleges, rivalries and allegiances are built there, and we start putting these expectations onto our kids.

I think everyone needs a good dose of humility.  We can be happy with what we have, and try to plan for a better tomorrow.  We don’t need to the newest or best thing, what ever that may be, a house, a car, or a fancy diploma.  Because chasing those things will lead to worry about how your going to keep paying for them, when you lose your job, when the main income provider passes away, you get divorced, or any number of things that can happen to reduce or eliminate income.  If you don’t want to worry about money, worry about getting out of debt before getting nice things.  Learn the difference between want and need.  Then only buy the nice things you want with the cash you have.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.  As a father of three, I can tell you it is tempting to try to push your kids too far.  When it came time for them to decide on their classes, they were all accepted into the advanced level classes.  But I told them not to waste their time on advanced level classes that they had no interest in doing when grew up.  So, they went into advanced level math and science, because they aren’t going to be English professors or historians.  Not that it doesn’t look good on a college application, but advanced classes take up a lot of time.  I would rather have A’s in all of the classes than teetering between a B and C, not to mention the needless stress of studying. 

Plenty people brag to me about how their kids are in advanced classes, but also tell me how stressed out their kids are.  If my kids don’t make to an IVY league school, I don’t care, because diplomas are about value, in my opinion, not status.  If you spend $200,000 on degree, that lands you a job that didn’t require a degree, or maybe it did, but the most you will ever make is $80,000 a year, is it worth it?  If someone has a degree from Harvard, does it matter if they are living under a bridge?  While the someone else is making $150,000 after going to trade school for a couple of months and can weld.  What has the most value, and who had to worry more?  Was it worth it?

As a parent, I think more of our time is worrying about our kids, while trying to keep an illusion up.  We don’t want to admit to our kids the mistakes we made, and acknowledge that they were mistakes.  We just want to tell them not do stuff, because we know the result.  Without telling them that we did it, they don’t think we understand.  And if we don’t acknowledge we made a mistake in our youth, they see us as hypocrites.  So many of us seem to forget that that is exactly the way we were as kids too.  If you are worried about your kids, we have to break this cycle.

This is one of my longer posts, but if there is one thing I hope you can take a way it is this, change the things that you can, let go of the things that you can’t, and seek the wisdom do know the difference, but don’t worry about something when you have done everything you can.

Posted in advice

Death of or by Worrying

Life is a beautiful and complicated thing.  Everyday we are challenged with constant decisions that we have to make, for ourselves and those we care about.  Those decisions have impacts that go far beyond what we may have intended, and have a butterfly effect that may go on long after we are gone.  Our children, their friends, nieces, and nephews, can be very impressionable and one thing that was said or done may have an impact on what they do in the future and how they interact with the people in their lives. 

If you sit and think about the ripples you can have on others lives and how they may turn into waves, you may spend a lot of time worrying about whether you have had a positive or negative impact.  But what good does worrying do?  This is something that I think most, if not all of us, deal with, we spend a lot of time thinking about the past and the present that we don’t take time to think about the future.

When something goes wrong in life, we look for who to blame.  The person we blame tries to excuse his decisions or actions.  But is that really the point, consequences should not be about revenge or punishment, but about rehabilitation, and preventing something from happening again.  When we make excuses, it is because we are worried that taking responsibility will lead to a punishment we don’t want.  The problem here is that both the accuser and accused aren’t thinking about fixing a problem for the future, but just want the satisfaction of being right.  If the accuser is clear that they just don’t want the transgression to happen again, then the accused can take responsibility and change the way they act in the future.

But so much time is spent worrying about what could or might happen, that we don’t take the actions to change what is going to happen.  Don’t let the worry monster kill you, instead slay the worry monster. Worrying will not feed you, it will not heal you, and most definitely it will not fix anything, only your actions, in word or in deed, can do that.