Ironically enough one of my catch phrases in life is “no worries”, which, my Nana told me if you add a “mate” on the end, I’d be pure Australian. I say it all the time to people when they bump into me, if they apologize for something, or if they are nervous. I say it to everyone in my life, but never to myself. You see, I am a planner by nature and a worrier by nurture. The women in my family have quite the knack for being “worry warts.” Will the plane be on time, did my letter get there, did I pay that bill, and what am I forgetting that I’m supposed to be doing right now. So truly, I come by my worrying honestly.
Recently, however, I feel like I am being challenged to let go a bit. In the last week alone I thought I’d lost a package I sent of Meredith shirts to a t-shirt quilt maker, a pearl earring from my set that my Nana and Papi got me, and a key card to my apartment complex that would require a $50 replacement. All week long my mind has been racing with worst case scenarios for each problem and yet my t-shirts arrived safely, my pearl earring was miraculously found, and my key card was buried in my laundry bag. So what did all that worrying get me? A headache.
In normal life I’d argue that my anxiety is masked fairly well. Normal me would not be kept awake by previously listed issues, and normal me would have decided that even those worst case scenarios are not truly the WORST. There is, sadly, nothing normal about the me I am dealing with now.
Any sense of normality I’ve had has been punched in the face by a giant metaphorical kangaroo carrying a “you’re going to Australia sign.” I’m a mess! Well, ok, in actuality I’m handling it all fairly well (a good thing considering I’m still 6 months away from departure). But I keep having these moments of complete panic. Granted, these moments are typically prompted by some roadblock that’s suddenly appeared, and maybe a non-worrier could take it in stride, but not this girl. When I see an obstacle, I need to conquer in RIGHT NOW, or melt into a puddle of woes. And while I have this get it done personality, sadly the Aussies don’t seem to share my sense of urgency.
For example, for the last 4 weeks I have been carefully collecting every document I will need for my application to Victoria University in Melbourne. I’ve contacted all my schools for transcripts, dug out my passport, found my GRE scores, and even written out my research proposal, all in preparation for the August 1st start of the application period. I log on, type in my information, create a student account and go to the submission page and then….ROADBLOCK. The form I need to fill out isn’t available. Imagine my distress. Ok, now add the whole puddle of woes me and you have a pretty clear picture of my sudden emotional state. After a few email exchanges with my boss and the university I came to find out their system is in limbo as they are adding some components to the international student application (lucky me). In spite of late night skype calls (well, late night here, lunchtime there), and several emails, I am still waiting for the application to be up and ready. The whole thing feels like a “hurry up and wait” situation.
In my ideal world, I’d have my acceptance letter from the university in hand as I hit the purchase button for my one-way ticket to Australia. Worrier Mary likes for all her ducks to be in a row before making big decisions. Unfortunately, this is not the ideal world, it is simply the real world, and in this world if I wait 2-3 months to purchase a flight to Australia I will literally be selling my car SOLELY to pay for my flight over.
So here I am on my computer searching for my ticket to adventure. I’ve found several options and the price, though the most expensive ticket I’ve ever bought, doesn’t seem outrageous, and yet I can’t bring myself to hit the “confirm purchase” button. It seems so final. And yes, it is final. I AM indeed going to Australia…but right now it’s just a thought. A known confirmed thought, but a thought nonetheless. Purchasing a flight there makes it real. There will be paper proof evidence supporting the fact that this time next year, I will be 10,000 miles away. Now that is something to worry about!
….or is it? Purchasing a ticket only reinforces a future I already know to be coming…A future I am incredibly excited about.
And yet, I am a worrier, and I likely always will be. So maybe instead of trying to NOT worry (akin to “ok Mary try NOT to breathe”), I should just try to take more action. I should be a leap of faith worrier. I warily (worryingly) leap into the unknown. I may panic until I find my solid footing, but at least I took the leap. Worrying is a perfectly natural response to the unknown, but rather than letting it freeze you, let it drive you forward. Let’s all work on being leaping worriers. Let your worries become your goals. And if you ever need reassurance that you can do it, I’m right here. No worries, mate.