My daughter, Daisy, is a worrier. She is descendant from a long line of worriers, hypochondriacs, catastrophisers and grey-haired predictors of doom. I worry about how much she worries.
In the car this afternoon she announces 'I am not going to have any babies ever mummy!' 'Why not?' I ask. 'Because I don't ever want a needle ever again' she replies. (The injection phobia is warranted given she was simultaneously jabbed in both arms in the name of community disease prevention yesterday.) 'But,' I say, 'by the time you're old enough to have babies, you won't be scared of needles any more.' Which got me thinking about all the things I used to worry about and assumed I would just grow out of.
When I was a child I was a champion worrier. I vividly recall losing sleep over a broad range of issues and concerns including World War Three, depression (of the fiscal variety), my parents divorcing, my parents dying, bushfires, acne, being struck by lightening, catching AIDS and losing my beloved soft toy panda.
I also spent a large part of my tweenage years worrying about the dog dying. However, I calculated that if the dog (a mad Golden Retriever named Jacko) lived to an average age, say, 14-15 years, by the time he carked it I would be at least 24 and by then I would be old enough to cope with the loss. He died when I was 21 and backpacking in Laos. I was mortified but at least I was old enough to douse my sorrows with Mekong whiskey.
Sadly, maturity has not brought an end to anxiety and I'm still a world-class worrier. In fact I'm worse since having kids, which gives birth to a whole new set of worries (cot-death, kidnapping, head lice) and the invention of Google (who needs to seek advice from a qualified medical professional when Dr Google is there to tell you that you've probably got cancer or worse?)
According to some bloke called Thomas Kepler, on average 40% of the things we worry about is stuff that will never happen, 30% of worries are about things that have already happened 12% are about others' opinions while 10% are needless health worries. Which makes only 8% of our worries worth worrying about. Now that's a worrying statistic.
The Dalai Lama says: “If there is a solution to a problem, there is no need to worry. And if there is no solution, there is no need to worry.” Wise words from the Buddhist Big Cheese.
My mantra of the week comes courtesy of Bobby McFerrin.
'Don't worry, be happy.'
Do do do do do di do di do di do di do...