Lately I’ve been waking up at 3 in the morning to worry. Not on purpose of course. It’s probably that I’ve gotten back in the habit of drinking a few cups of coffee in the afternoon AND having a glass of wine when I’m cooking dinner at night. This is not good for me. Coffee and wine mess with my sleep but sadly, I’m not always on my best behavior and sometimes these vices, disguised as treats, sneak in. Sometimes might be all the time.
Super early yesterday morning, after ruminating in the dark for what seemed like hours, I finally just got up and decided to walk the dogs at dawn. I love doing this because there are less people out and lately it seems like there are people everywhere. Running into people with three not-so-well-behaved dogs (I still have my mom’s dog, Spreckles) AND navigating social distancing etiquette is challenging. I’m always finding myself taking weird routes I had no intention of taking just to avoid people. Hello, stranger. I guess I’ll just take a right turn here to avoid you! Doesn’t it seem like everyone is always out these days? Not that I blame anyone. I’m sick of my house too and sunshine and space are all that’s keeping us sane these days.
I often listen to books on Audible while I walk. I also listen to podcasts and I call my dad regularly. This is a good thing and a bad thing. The books I’m reading are often stories about social injustice and while they are super educational and meaningful, they often make my habit of over-worrying even worse. Podcasts are great too but the health and wellness spectrum that I often find myself in also tends to make me over-worry. And even though I love my dad to pieces, sometimes talking to him and absorbing his problems ALSO makes me worry too much. I am just the worriest worry wart there ever was.
This worrying tendency makes me think of my grandma who passed away forever ago. She was known as the worry wart of the family. I miss her so much. I wish we could talk about this worrying habit. But maybe it’s good she’s not around today to see all the things that are going down. It is not a good time to be a worrier.
The other day, I walked out into the orange light of mid day (due to all the fires burning in California) and there on the wall of our entryway was the biggest green bug I have ever seen. I looked it up and I think it’s a green Katydid. I’ve seen small bugs like this a lot. Small finger-nail sized versions but this thing was HUGE! It was as big as my palm. And then later I walked out into the backyard and there in the track of our sliding glass door was the hugest slug I have ever seen. All I could think was, it’s the end of the world! Giant bugs, heat waves, weird orange light, pandemics, crazy political scenes, the country on the brink of a civil war… I just wanted to hide like Chicken Little.
I decided books and podcasts and phone calls were just too much for my poor stressed-out brain. (I know. Eye-roll-worthy.) I often walk without listening to anything but I decided to turn on my favorite “chill” playlist and a Moby song came on. I don’t know why I don’t use music to calm myself more often. I don’t remember which song it was but as the softly repeating base line echoed around the inside of my head, I felt my cortisol levels lower. I gazed up at the trees that line the sidewalk path and I started to notice how they were pruned.
Every tree was pruned differently. I know a lot of this is dependent on the tree and how it grows but the more I examined the branches of each tree, the more I thought they looked like individual works of art! Some were trimmed to flay out symmetrically in all directions. Other trees were pruned to turn in on themselves in spirals. Some were weirdly pruned to grow over the sidewalk…It got me to thinking about who pruned them. I bet there is a tree-trimmer on our neighborhood route who decided to create his own masterpieces on every tree he comes across! How cool is that?!
I’ve always thought our neighborhood was a little over-aggressive with their gardening (seriously, it seems like every day is a new and different very loud gardening task: blowing, edging, trimming, mowing…) but today I actually appreciated it. In a community where everything looks the same, I thought, how cool that it actually isn’t!
Then I started to imagine the cool animated graphic I would create with long willowy purple trunks and branches spiraling around each other to pretty music and wished I was an animator with 3d graphics skills. But that’s just a typical Brenda rabbit hole to fall down.
But let me tell you, it’s a whole lot better than all the other worry rabbit holes I’ve been falling down lately! A whole lot better than worrying about civil war!!!
I empathize with the tendency to spiral down into over-worrying during these very worrying times. Two podcasts that lift me up are “Your Last Meal” and “How I Built This.” On YLM Rachel Belle interviews someone famous about their very favorite meal and then interviews someone in the culinary world about something related. Very light and interesting. Guy Raz hosts HIBT – he interviews people about how they built some brand or business. So interesting to hear their personal stories and the best thing is that even though there are struggles (near bankruptcy, fights with co-founders, etc.) it always has a happy ending. I have followed your blog from the very early days and feel like you are a friend. I hope that you are doing well!
Thank you. :) I will look them up!
Oh, hi! I’m a fellow Worry Wart :) Between worrying about my tweenagers and remote learning and the Northern California Apocalypse weather and Politics, I’m usually up for stretches in the middle of the night with my wheels spinning, too. It is no fun. I did buy a cool, soft headband thing from amazon with earphones built in that helps. I listen to sleep meditation music!
“I am just the worriest worry wart there ever was” sounds like the beggings of a book I would read. I bet you could write one that is filled with humor…I would read it while I am awake at 3 also worrying about my teens, and “the end of the world”
I worry about my worrying and overthink my overthinking. But yesterday when it was night all day in the Bay Area, it didn’t bother me all that much. Go figure. At least we are not alone in all of this and that you got several golden hours in a day is kind of cool. Also, I’m ready for your worry book too!
I come from a long line of worry warts and I’m married to one too. Luckily being one myself, I can relate to him but I think he goes the extra mile in being able to foresee danger. I tease him that we’re like the characters from the film “Along came Pilot” minus the ferret. ( Actually we have weasels at the farm, not unlike ferrets, tunnelling in my flower bed ).
I too, since the pandemic have fallen into the habit of waking up at 3 every day. Today is the first time in many moons I’ve woken up at 5 something. Woo hoo! I need to work on my sleep routine & not look at the news before bed on my phone . We are feeling sad at the moment as the numbers are rising and we are fearing what Winter will bring. Right now Autumn is so beautiful, the apples and pears are ripe in the orchard and the days are sunny, streaked with the golden light, you love so much. It’s hard to imagine what the future may bring. I’m glad that you too can take solace in nature.
Take care dear Brenda xxx