About two years ago Zsolt and I travelled with some amazing friends to Corfu, Greece. That was one crazy trip – particularly since we booked a non-refundable room in the cheapest hotel available, which happened to be in the craziest, loudest, most vomit-covered town on the island where British University first-years went to get sloppy.
We arrived in the evening and departed our flight. The goal was to flag down a taxi and ride to the most southern tip of the island, which would be about a 1 hour drive considering we had to weave through villages. So, there we are with our luggage and flight-exhaustion, and we find ourselves a taxi driver. He takes our bags and starts packing them into the car before we can even ask the price of the ride. (Zsolt was not happy with that!) But he quoted as we expected, so in the end all four of us piled in and set off into the night.
It was warm, early summer warm, and the windows were down as we drove. Or rather, as the taxi driver drove.
And here is the important part of this story: The taxi driver, an amiable man, thought he was a freaking RACE CAR driver. We started off normally, but as soon as he hit the weaving coastline road it was an all-out rally drive. This man was zooming down these 2-lane roads (one for each direction) going 100-120 Km/hour . . . which might have been okay if no one else was out there, but this is a MAIN ROAD passing through many villages – there were people on the street, mopeds galore, four-wheelers, bikers, trucks, buses, cars. But hey, that was NO PROBLEM for our taxi man! That two lane road became three lanes as he passed slow cars while oncoming traffic zipped by, and then FOUR LANES as he passed a car passing a car while oncoming traffic pulled over into the ditch.
And all the while he was jabbering on about Corfu, talking about how you need to be careful on the road (as we passed by an accident scene with cops, people and glass all over while one fellow swept at the mess with his broom).
It was crazy. CRAZY. But you know what – it was EXHILERATING. I had FUN. Maybe it was the jet-lag, or the darkness, or the Mediterranean effect . . . but our taxi-man’s driving didn’t scare me. It was just so freaking fun, we couldn’t stop laughing the whole time. I remember watching the road and feeling plain excited as he confidently swerved and veered around all the obstacles.
And you know what – the result of that trip was that we made it to the crazy-party-town in one piece. If I had been terrified the entire time, flinching with every pass and acceleration, you know what the result would have been? We would have made it to the crazy-party-town in one piece.
Looking back on that memory, it really makes me sigh.
I tend to hold worry right in my middle. It stays there, it makes me anxious, it makes me miss the joy of the ride. Instead I’m thinking: “What if it comes back? Crap, we’re going to die one day! What if we never get preggers? I hate second-hand smoke! What if we never become fully-formed adults (i.e house, dog, RRSP savings, investments)? What if everything in life goes wrong? I have no control!”
This isn’t ‘new challenge’ worrying like when you travel or accept a new job, and everything turns out wonderfully. This is just ‘pointless and without-good-reason’ worrying.
It is a serious buzz kill.
Something really needs to be done. Life is one crazy ride, I’d like to find it exhilarating rather than exhausting. At times, I’m enjoying everything and then at other times I’m stuck in a rut of worried thoughts. I blame it on hormones . . . does tamoxifen cause anxiety?
Some people turn to meditation. I’ve only really tried it once and the instructor kept talking the whole time – telling us not to move, no matter what, as my leg shifted from uncomfortable to numb to tingling to painful. . . Don has written about mindfulness before, as has Stephine, and that sounds alright to me.
Cleaning makes me feel really good. Not scrubbing the toilet, but dusting the flat on a sunny day and getting lost in my thoughts. Is that mindfulness? I don’t know. But it feels really good. Walking feels really good. Deep breaths. Cups of tea. Yeah, that stuff is all fantastic. I guess the real trouble is that when I’m anxious, I often forget about all these things because I don’t realize I’m anxious until it’s been going on for a while, building up inside. You know?
So I’m looking for some inspiration today, because I’d rather be a thrill-enjoyer rather than a worry-wart.
How do you manage worry when it happens? What’s your cool-down trick? And why do you think something triggers us to worry while other things don’t have that impact?
Advice, ideas and personal stories are very welcome.
P.S. Not worrying is also how I met my husband, because in normal non-travelling through Europe life, I'd never approach someone that good looking!