Do you remember the sleep of childhood? The carefree sleep troubled by nothing more than the occasional bad dream? Childhood sleep is one of those things I think we all take for granted as children, because of course we don’t know any better. Raise your hand if you thought being an adult was all about staying up until whenever you want to and eating ice cream. Well, that’s what being a college student is like. Being an adult is so much different. So much harder. It’s worries and bills and meals thrown together with a hungry child hanging off your leg whining. But being an adult is also leaning over a crib and watching a child sleep that blissful, worry-free sleep.
The cares of childhood are not unlike the cares of the cat, I think. Feed me, clean me, play with me. Of course with a little human, there’s the teaching of language, the nurturing of personality, the instruction of right and wrong. But like the cat, there’s not much to be overly concerned about.
My life the past two years has been the antithesis of worry free. In the past two years, I’ve had a baby, started a business, managed a business, sort of lost a business/am trying to sell said business, moved four times (17 times in the past five years we’ve moved. I wish I were kidding.), and gotten back into the journalism profession. To say I’m stressed is putting it lightly, especially when you factor in the financial woes it seems like quite a few people my age in this country have.
When we picked up my car from the mechanic today, I had the humiliating experience of asking the mechanic to please wait two weeks before cashing the check I handed him. Being a kind person, he said it wasn’t an issue and in good faith let me take my car. My car has 205,000 miles on it… We’re trying to limp it along as long as we can. Bless you, Honda, for making a quality vehicle that just keeps going.
After that, I was feeling pretty down. Being totally honest, I was raised on the high end of the middle class spectrum, and being where I am now, barely making ends meet, is not an enjoyable place to be. I certainly have a fresh perspective on how hard it is to be financially unstable. I also find it incredibly insulting when some of the folks in power in this country say that poor people on welfare (we are not on welfare… We have two cars so we don’t qualify … Before you criticize people “sucking off the government teat” try applying for welfare sometime… I think you’ll have a different opinion when you get rejected for having “too many assets” because you have a 13-year-old car and a 18-year-old car collectively worth about 6 grand.) don’t work hard and just cheat the system. On the contrary, I think the poor people in this country work much, much harder than anyone else for very little reward.
But before I get in too deep on that soapbox of mine, back to the point of this post! Worry. Why am I doing so much of it? My husband noticed how mopey I was and asked me kindly to snap out of it. It doesn’t do any good worrying, he said, especially when there’s not much we can do right now to change the situation. He grew up the son of farmers, so this being stressed about money thing is much more familiar to him than me. And he’s totally right. All this stressing out is doing is affecting my health and making me lose sleep. Sleep I very much need. So, just as I’ve made choices in my life than have led me to where I am, and just as my husband and I have made choices that with a little luck will get us out of this situation in about two years, I must choose to stop stressing all the time. Easier said than done, but I’ve got to do it. I’ve got to accept the situation as it is and move on, without the freaking out about it part. Sort of like the Litany Against Fear from the wonderful sci-if novel Dune: “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn my inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing… Only I will remain.”
So. Less worry. Less fear. More working my way out of this situation. More sweet dreams.