The Best Advice I Ever Received
My first marriage turned me into a stepmother overnight. And they were boys, which wasn't too bad. They were pretty good kids, actually. But boys tend to be very active, inquisitive and constantly getting into trouble of one sort or another. My husband was a decade older than I and much more worldly. I heard quotes from him that sounded great, never realizing that he wasn't the originator. So, when he told me during one stressed out moment trying to corral the boys that I shouldn't sweat the small stuff, it seemed like the greatest advice I had ever heard. I shouldn't stress out over every little scene or incident, it's all going to be okay! Will I remember this incident in 5 years? No? Then it's not worth making a big deal out of. Take a deep breath and just let it go.
Now, of course, I realize the entire quote goes something like this: Don't sweat the small stuff. And it's all small stuff" (Dr. Richard Carlson). This one quote, more than any other, has stuck in my mind. Some pieces of advice stay with you because you use it over and over in countless situations. This is the one for me. I'm so glad that advice came to me early as I tend to be a worrier.
Time has not changed my tendency to worry. I look for things to worry about. They could write a book about how I worry, or a television show even! I could be the television show that goes on for years because I swear I will never run out of things to worry about. And really, it's not that I run out of things to worry about, it's that my mind is constantly conceiving scenarios involving things that might happen. The chances for a specific scenario unfolding exactly the way my mind envisions it might be extremely low. That does not stop me from imagining it in glorious 3-D technicolor. It can lead to pacing, crying jags, interminable internet searches, and desperate calls at 3 a.m. If you are on my list of people to worry about, I will not stop imagining horrible gruesome scenes with you as the victim until you walk through my front door. Only then can I feel a small sense of relief. Hey, you were but one person I was worried about. Now I can focus on the others.
I try to remind myself not to sweat the small stuff. What was the best advice YOU ever got?