Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Don't Worry; Be Happy

During the past week I haven't gotten much done as far as writing goes. That's okay; I'm sort of between books right now anyway. I have a book coming out in a couple of weeks, Shudder. There's not much I can do on it now, but hope readers and reviewers will like it. I think most writers, me included, are a bit nervous during the time a book is completely out of our hands, but not in bookstores yet.

I've also submitted a manuscript I've been working on for a year, but haven't heard yet whether it's a yes or no. That's another waiting time that makes me a bit nervous.

My column for Meridian has been turned in, but didn't run Thursday so I'm assuming it will run this Thursday. This happens several times a year, but each time I worry about it until the column is actually posted.

I have a speaking engagement next Wednesday.

I haven't started another book yet. I decided I needed a little break since life has been pretty hectic for me the past few years and I've had enough to worry about---my son-in-law who was wounded in Iraq, my father's and brother's deaths, a daughter's breast cancer, another daughter's swine flu and three bouts of pneumonia, my sister's acute leukemia, and so on. I know worrying about things I can do nothing about is a non-productive exercise. I blame it on my ancestors; I come from a long line of worriers.

The problem is; I think I've forgotten how to relax. I rush through every task, constantly feel guilty because I'm not writing, and have difficulty settling down to read or carry on a conversation.

For the past few days I've been picking up my grandson whose mom is ill and taking him with me to pick up another grandson from kindergarten who is normally picked up from school by the daughter who is ill. The cousins are just four and a half months apart in age, but one is in school and one isn't. Watching them together today reminded me of how important it is to enjoy life, but we don't have to all do it the same way.

Brandon is Mister Congeniality. Everyone is a friend and the more physical the game the better he likes it. He painted in class today and that was "awesome." He eats every bite of lunch I put before him, then puts his dishes in the sink, and washes his face. He doesn't have time to cuddle, needs a volume switch, and is on the go every minute. He also likes to figure out things for himself and is an avid fan of action video games.

Calton is slightly younger, but taller and he can read. He daydreams through lunch and never notices that his face and hands are sticky. He's a little fearful of climbing the gate or balancing on a wall, but he'll follow if his cousin leads the way. He likes to snuggle up to read a book and thrives on the more academic video games. He has a million questions about everything.
Surprisingly these two have a great time together and seem to fall into making up games where they each excel in his own way and both have a great time.

I think that like these two little boys, I need to laugh more, try new things more, and sometimes just live for the moment. I'll never be completely cured of worrying, but I don't really want to stop caring about family and friends. The boys' game today evolved into a rolling down the stairs competition. I'm not ready to go that far, but I'm going out to dinner tonight with friends we've never gone out with before and I just sent off a check to hold a reservation at the May ranch for a week next summer. It's time to rediscover fishing.


Melanie Goldmund said...

This post reminded me of me and my own sons. I'm also a Natural-Born Worrier and I also have a son who is Mr. Congeniality. Sometimes he'll tell me, "Just be happy, Mom!" But it's so easy to say and so hard to do.

I remember once finding a small polished stone in my mother's purse and asking her what it was. She told me it was a Worry Rock and that when she was worried, she could rub it with her fingers. Maybe I should get one of those and carry it in my pocket. Stroking the smooth surface and turning the rock over and over in my fingers could help relieve stress and give me the impression of actually doing something, instead of just worrying. I could even try to transfer my concerns from my brain to the stone, leaving me (and them) much better off.

Although, on the other hand, I don't know if my mother still has hers. I'm worried that she might have rubbed and rubbed and rubbed at that rock so much that she finally wore it completely away.

I hope you find a way to worry less and be more happy! :-)

Mindi said...

I think it's way too easy to worry! I worry a lot, too. Maybe it's a mom thing. The worry rock sounds like a great idea, though! I might have to try that soon! It's hard to take time for yourself when there are so many things you know you ought to be doing, but I have designated Friday after (After the boys go to bed) as my night. I watch any movie I feel like watching - I sure can't so that when they are awake! - and eat junk. It's only once a week and I refuse to worry about it!

Nancy Campbell Allen said...

Jennie, I so needed this post! Thanks for putting it out there and helping me reflect on my own inability to relax these days.

Your little guys sound (and look!) adorable. Such good little friends, and valuable insights into life through them.

Again, thank you!

Gail Alexander said...

Grandkids are wonderful, I have 13 and the oldest is 5. Three years ago we had 2 born 6 days apart, two years ago we had 3 born 7 weeks apart and this year we had 3 born within 13 days of each other. We had a few sragglers thrown in between. I have 8 grandsons and 5 gradndaughters.