Mother was a worrier. Perhaps growing up during the Depression and observing all the hardships and heartache associated with World War II caused her to anticipate trouble. One of my jokes about this trait is if I were to tell my mom about an incident where we had a flat tire, but found a $100 bill on the side of the road, she would only hear the “had a flat tire part.” She focused on the worrisome things.
But, worrying is not usually part of being me. Dad tended not to worry about much of anything. Perhaps my usually calm nature took after him with regard to fretting over things. That temperament saved him from having ulcers and heart problems. I fought the ulcer problem years ago during a very unhappy work situation and learned to control anxiety. Yet in the past few days I’ve found myself preoccupied about something over which there can be little control. Coincidentally, a garage sale find made it to the top of my “books to read” stack—a hardback version of the Dale Carnegie, “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.” This famous book was copyrighted in 1944, ’45, ’46, ’47, and ’48, and who knows how many subsequent printings exist.
The past few days I’ve been agonizing over finding a way to raise enough money to fund a trip to a great two-day event in September in a town a three hour drive from my home. Ideas bounced around my head, plans, good and bad were examined. I contacted several friends to see if a night’s lodging could be bummed. Reviewing the pros and cons revealed the cost of the trip to be the only negative. The pros were numerous. So, taking action, I designed a flyer for a “Package Deal” with my books and some John Wayne movies and posted it as an “offer” on Facebook. Sadly, twenty-four hours later, not one sale was realized. Ideas of various things to sell or make money ping-ponged around in my head. The fretting exploded into honest to goodness worry.
Then the thought of something I read in that book a few nights back came to me. Carnegie quoted a formerly bankrupt investment banker who received some valuable advice. He was instructed to put a stop loss on any investment to reduce the amount of losses should that investment go sour. The man realized the theory was applicable to other facets of life. Stop Loss. Cut your losses and move on. Worry is like throwing good money after bad. Assess the situation and assign a stop loss point. Worry and fretting about something you can't seem to resolve gets you nowhere. It does create frowns and heart palpitations and various other unpleasant symptoms. But it doesn’t fix the problem.
Back to my desire to attend the event to show off my books, make important contacts, and possibly see old friends who live in the area. The cost of this venture would likely not be covered with sales revenue. The money would have to come from another source. The whole plan was becoming too difficult to execute. Why should I bother friends to put me up for a night or two? Would the experience be worth the cost?
When those questions roared through my mind, I said, “Whoa. Stop. Stop Loss. Cut and run.” The thought of the many car restoration projects which were abandoned and placed on Craig’s List hit me. We’ve done that. Thrown up our hands and sold a car for which we had great plans at a loss. So I figuratively threw up my hands and said, “Enough, Elaine. If it’s going to happen, it will happen.” Shortly thereafter, our friend called and said I’m welcome to stay with them. They live less than 30 minutes from the event.
So with that good sign, I stopped worrying, fretting, and being overly concerned about something which, in the whole scheme of things, isn’t all that important. What’s vital is to live each moment in happiness and contentment. If something is to be, it will be. Struggling to make it happen does no good for me or the world around me. Hmm, maybe I should write a poem:
If a thing is to be, it will be.
No need to struggle or plea
Time will allow us to see
If that thing is really to be.