This evening, after my son was put down, I hopped on Pinterest to take a quick (Ha. Quick. Remember that one time when I lied about the length of time that I spent on Pinterest? Me too.) gander at all the lovelies there are in the world. I happened across a pin that linked me back to an article called "Top Five Regrets of the Dying". Intrigued, I clicked. These were collected by a nurse who had been working with the elderly for some-odd years and had collected a list of things they frequently said were their biggest regrets. She says these are the top five most common regrets:
1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
So I thought about it. I mean, I really thought about it, and I have to say if I were to die tomorrow...those would not be my top 5 regrets. I feel like I'm living the life I'm happy with living, I often play with my baby in lieu of doing dishes, I often tell people EXACTLY how I feel, I have a facebook (very useful in fulfilling desire number 4) and I generally allow myself to be plenty happy. HOWEVER. Each of these regrets branch off to create a single sub-category that I consider to be a very real behavior I exude that needs eradicating lest I do die tomorrow and it becomes my Regret Number One:
I worry that my house will never be clean and someday the prophet will drop by to check on me and there will be a sink full of dishes, a dead bug chilling on the welcome mat, baby toys strewn about and folded laundry keeping the couch company. I worry that I'm not working hard enough. I worry that the feelings I express to others will offend them. I worry that people don't actually want to stay in touch with me and that I'm just clinging. I worry that I won't get enough sleep and that I'll be exhausted the next day. When I wake up in the middle of the night and my baby isn't crying, I worry that he's dead. (haha. No, really, though...I have to talk myself out of checking on him every single time.) I worry that I'm not being the perfect wife, perfect mother, perfect friend, perfect daughter, perfect employee. And I worry that when I'm sad, it must mean that I'm not trying hard enough to be happy.
I worry all the time. I'm a professional worrier. I don't WANT to be, but I don't know how NOT to be.
I don't want to have regrets when I die. I want to just know that I lived the best life that I knew how to live. I think it'll help to know that things don't end here. Things go on. It's not a one shot only type deal. There will be more beauty to discover if I miss some of the beauty here. There will be people to love if I can't love them all here. There will be work to do if I don't do it all here. There will be choirs to sing in, children to mother, people to meet and places to explore.
BUT...I don't want to worry my life away! I don't want to constantly need a plan. I don't want to constantly be in a frenzy or a hurry or a panic. I want to let things go. Things will go wrong, I won't be perfect, I'll make mistakes, tragedies will hit, hard times will be gone through. I want to be okay with that! But it causes a pit in my stomach just thinking about all that unknown over which I have no control.
Worry is so inherently a part of me. It's engrained into my very being. How do I etch that out?? How do I melt those parts away?
I don't know. I just don't know yet.