twenty fourteen
and in the meanwhile

January again and no escape

You again, January. Such a pallid, Ryvita-like month.


Also very appropriate for worrying. Of course, you know (and accept?) life is a finite thing, in theory, don't you. But last weekend, driving back from my parents' house, a cold wave of concern about my mother broke over me. That day she was so uncomfortable* that the awful inevitability of her life becoming ever more constricted and painful as her arthritis worsens made itself horribly real, at that moment, in my car. If I could just keep driving, I thought, I'd drive through it. I'd be okay for as long as I could stay in my metal bubble. But this country is not just not big enough to escape into, in my own road movie because unless I went in actual circles, I'd run out of Ireland in 3 hours and have to turn back. (There's a charming/aggravating Irish feeling of no escape, here. You could, of course, go Out West, but it isn't very Out and you could easily run into someone who you went to ballet class with as children. Or the Girl Guides, another institution responsible for many mildly embarrassing acquaintanceships.)

 It's so adult, this stuff; I don't know how you could ever be ready for it. How to manage it at all. 
Worry, for one thing, is so pointless. I remember I read somewhere once that rather than trying not to worry at all, (clearly not going to happen) you could confine worry time to 10 minutes a day, when you could worry all you wanted. You redirect your thoughts when a worry occurs. Not now, worry! You say. Please come back at the designated worry-time.

Hey, I'll try anything. I need skillz here; this is for the long haul and I like to have a plan.
I'd love to hear how you manage yours if you are of a mind to share.

In any case, I wish you a peaceful week.


*As it happens, it seems a virus is responsible for her feeling so poorly lately. Which is (relatively) good news. You can recover from a virus, after all.



Yay virus! No, wait, that's not right. At all. I am glad it was a virus, mostly, and hopefully everyone will feel better stat. Everyone. Better. STAT!

There's nothing like travelling and travelling and bumping into Mooface from drama class in the lobby. Or a cousin. I have many many lots cousins. I am free! I have escaped! I am... oh. I am me. Hello me. Thanks for the reminder.

I wish I could advise on the not-worrying. I worry and worry and worry until I start inventing Worst Case Scenarios of Gothic luridness, starting from 'I forgot to finish that document' and ending, eventually, in 'the volcano explodes and we are all eaten by dinosaurs and IT'S ALL MY FAULT'. All I do do is talk to myself very gently and kindly, as if I was a nice but slightly dim child, 'now then, May, you can finish the document tomorrow, and if boss asks, you can cheerfully say 'I'm working on it now!' and I PROMISE boss won't sack you on the spot. Now breathe-two-three and hold-two-three and out-two-three and what do we say when we're stressed? We say "all will be well and all will be well and all manner of thing will be well".'

And it doesn't always work, alas.

Jedi hugs.


I guess that's the best thing about the US - you can certainly keep driving and in 6-8 hours, you'll be in an entirely different climate/landscape/time zone with a bunch of people you're not likely to have ever met. However, I did move to a town 300 miles from where I was born, wherein my mother's friend's daughter lived on the next block, and my BIL's friend was the priest at the church in town. I lived in Chicago for 30 years, where I could count the times I unintentionally ran into people I knew on one hand, but move to a small town....

Anyway, my personal strategy for not worrying is to assume there's not a f***ing thing I can do about anything anyway, so why waste the energy? I hate to waste energy. I dealt with the stress of worrying about my parents by having them die off rather early, but I don't recommend that strategy. However, my mother was very accommodating for my worrying (or lack thereof) by refusing to accept the strictures that her chronic diseases (diabetes and heart disease) required. So, "I'm not coming to your next bypass surgery" was a frequent refrain from all of her children, whenever we would see her eating or drinking things she shouldn't. (We are a delightfully empathetic bunch.) My dad, however, was a different story, as he had rheumatoid arthritis and there's not much you can do for that - especially when it goes south. Fortunately for me, I was but 22 when he died, so worrying about him was a short term occupation.

At any rate, I hope your mom is feeling better. And I hope scheduling your worry time works. My aunt used to recommend avoidance of unnecessary worries - that's a good strategy, I think. My mother would get much worked up about the state of our bedrooms. But my aunt suggested that there was no real need for her to visit those rooms, so she should stop worrying about them. Logic - it works almost every time. :)

Dr Spouse

I once gave up worrying about work, outside of work hours, for Lent. I was in my early 20s at the time and, though I have tried to replicate this admirable triumph of mind over, er, mind, I've never been able to manage it again.


Thank you, May. I had forgotten All Will Be Well. Also: In a hundred years, none of this will matter.

Which is not cheery but somehow a bit comforting.

I am very impressed by the giving up of worrying for Lent. Brilliance.


I know, I KNOW. I have a good cry about my dead daddy on a regular basis, but there's also huge relief. I don't have to think about how to handle it. My crazy mother, yes. And I think there's nothing in the world to make one feel like a child than one's parents being...fragile.

Maybe one of those exercise bicycles? You can go forever on that...

Spring will come. We will all be stronger then, I hope including your mom.

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