You know when it’s late at night and you’re trying to sleep, but you can’t stop worrying? Your mind is bent on chewing up scenario after scenario and venturing into territory that you berate yourself for even entertaining. What kind of twisted person even thinks of such terrible outcomes?! That’s not even likely to happen! Yet there you are, tossing and turning — a slave to your own imagination.
Obviously something in your brain is broken, or at least deviant. You must have a mental disorder. You curse your luck and wish you never had to go through this again. But is it a curse or blessing? If you, like I did recently, experience a blip where this worry function goes missing, you may realize it had a purpose after all.
Take for example, the day worry was shut off for me. The day I stood at the bottom of the escalator with my 5-year-old twins. They wanted to try the “magic stairs.” Certainly if this was one of those late night worry sessions, I would have imagined all sorts of disasters! But this time, I did not picture my kids falling backwards down the escalator. I didn’t picture us being slowly devoured by the mechanism. I even didn’t picture one kid sailing to the top out of my sight (Certain to be snatched by a stranger!) while the other screamed and threw a fit at the bottom. Well friends, some of this actually happened.
I made the oh-so-intelligent decision to set my purse down to have both hands free. I set Twin 1 on the escalator, then set Twin 2 on the following stair. I thought I would pick up my purse and hop on behind them, but Twin 2 held onto my hand because he was scared. Of course he was, why didn’t I think he would need to hold my hand?! As Twin 1 sailed upward with a huge smile on her face, I struggled to reach my purse AND hold the hand of Twin 2 who was stepping down instead of up. “Let go for a second,” I asked. Instead of letting go of my hand, he fell backwards and I rushed forward. Now, I’m awkwardly holding him and the two of us are coasting up to the top while my purse sits at the bottom with a gathering of onlookers. Not my finest moment.
Now, keep in mind I’m just a regular person, interpreting my own experience, but I feel when your mind runs through many scenarios unchecked, it might be an overactive version of something you need very much. Believe it or not, you can predict the future sometimes! I certainly could have used a little predictive worrying at my escalator debacle.
Later that night, while I was pondering my failings as a parent, I thought more about this. I ALWAYS worried. Are all writers also worriers? Hmm. Story is almost like an extended — what if X happened — worry session. It’s where you explore all options. Was this part of the mechanism that helps me write?
If you’re wondering how it worked out on the escalator, Twin 1 waited patiently (thrilled at her triumph) at the top of the escalator as I went up with sobbing Twin 2, and a kind woman at the bottom of the escalator brought up my purse. Several people informed me where the elevator was. Thank you all very much.
Are YOU a worrier? Are you a writer? Do you think there might be a connection? Share your opinions below.