Inertia - Nº134
For the ones who worry
I live to enjoy life by the littlest things, feeling the grass between my toes, breathing fresh air, watching the wind sway the trees, enjoying the company of loved ones, a deep conversation, getting lost in a good book, going for a walk in nature, watching my kids grow up. Just the feeling itself of being alive, the absolute amazing fact that we are here right now, breathing, thinking, doing.
— Marigold Wellington
Something I love to see in my younger siblings is none of them are naturally big worriers. They’re nothing but fully invested in their tendencies to be highly curious, competitive, and practical, with the brightest futures. And if I had to choose, I think, above all else, that’s the single, biggest internal factor that determines our happiness the most.
It’s a big statement, but here’s why I say it.
Growing up, I thought happiness was a result of ticking boxes. I thought it came after you accomplished or obtained something. My first big job, Buying my first car, or feeling I’ve earned more popularity and status. When I finally felt worthy enough. And all those things are great—these are still some of my happiest moments—but they’re all just milestones. Markers along a far more meaningful path comprising the work, progress, stumbles and leaps I make towards that final feeling of making it.
But honestly, life is not about the joy of finally reaching an end. Most of it is about simply being on the right path. I spoke to a couple of friends who’d just gotten married, and one thing they always point out about their weddings is how quickly it all goes. Months or years of preparation—just for the day to feel like a blur not even a week later. That’s not to say it’s never magical or memorable, but it makes an interesting point: most of our life is not about that wedding day or the day we lose our virginity or graduate or retire or get a million email subscribers or buy a private jet or whatever. It’s about the normal everyday pleasures and moments.
I love this way of putting it:
Most of your life is just proper normal shit. Most of your life is basically a Tuesday afternoon. It's doing a bit of work, going to the shop for milk and bread, deciding which film to watch on Netflix, having a coffee in the morning, being stuck in traffic, waiting for your dinner to be ready, filling out forms, standing in queues, brushing your teeth. Even for the person with the most exciting life, still, the majority of it is a string of very normal moments.
The time to worry about anything, if you really do, is long before it happens. Days or months before. But there, you decide whether what you’re doing is worth it. And if you conclude that it is, put all your energy into whatever stops you from worrying—because to worry is to needlessly add an extra danger will do more damage than you realise.
Now think about what is normal for you. What crosses your mind when it drifts? How do you feel when you are present? Do you find it easy to appreciate little everyday things? How comfortable do you feel when there are no distractions?
Take a moment to remember that worrying about any of this is the one thing that will screw up every ordinary moment you have.
It makes uncertainty something that petrifies you rather than excites you.
It keeps your mind over-stimulated, overthinking and worrying about what could go wrong, causing you to miss all the good happening in front of you.
It makes the non-existent, unlikely-to-ever-happen worst-case scenario feel way more likely than it ever is. You’ll struggle to concentrate, be creative, and be open to risk, and it will dull the best parts of your everyday.
Put it like this: do you know what feels better than being in the moment and having fun? It’s having fun when you don’t give a shit.
Be the non-worrier you see in others. It will make all the difference.