Stop Worrying and Start Enjoying — Lesson From a 5 Year Old
If you are anything like me, you spend a lot of your time worrying.
A common theme throughout my life has been obsessively worrying. I would spend every free moment thinking about future to-do’s or future expenses. This high stress bubble I had been trapped in was burst by my Step-Daughter a few years ago.
Car fixes, saving for a home, raising a family, a poor rental market, and other life events came along and stacked on top of my life-long habit of worrying.
I had been so laser focused on future goals, that I forget to relish those goals once I actually achieved them. Instead of celebrate accomplishment, I would simply move the goalposts further away and work towards the next goal.
The Weight of the World Within One Question
As a parent, being faced with your own hypocrisy is never easy. Though it will inevitably happen along the way.
I came face to face with my hypocrisy when my Step-Daughter was 5, and she flipped my typical after school questions onto me.
“What was the best part of today?”
Now, her answered revolved around the same answers most of the time.
- Whatever video she had watched right before I asked the question
She answered the question this day with one of those options, as always. Then, she flipped the question onto me and it stopped me in my tracks so deeply I should have checked my pulse.
I realized in that moment how much of my day was spent in worry.
Scanning my memory of the day, and most of it was a blur of tasks, information and outrage from the internet, and my own monotony. I couldn’t find anything suitable as an answer for her.
- Well, I needlessly weighed 4 different Mortgage options, even though a house is very far in the future.
- I spent 40 minutes tapping my foot and thinking of a way to get diapers tomorrow.
- I saw a post on Facebook with 900 comments of anger and arguments.
These were the things that filled up my day. I had missed anything positive that happened in front of me, and did not enjoy my day.
Finally, after an eon of silence, I gathered myself enough to answer her innocent question.
“Well, I really think the best part of my is that at the end of it, I get to come home to you guys. I get to laugh, eat a good dinner, and get SO many cuddles.”
She responded in a single, profound word, “Nice.” before moving onto her next grand adventure.
She has not thought about that interaction again in the 3 years that have passed since. Yet I have thought about it every single day since. As I watched her little feet patter to another part of the house, I fought back tears and made a promise to myself.
From that moment forward, I have done everything I could to simply Stop Worrying, and Start Enjoying.