My sister’s on it. She’s been there for several months and normally she’s never on it so this is very worrisome. My brother’s on it. He occupies a permanent space… just moves up and down. Sort of like a seat on the UN Security Council. My mother is on it even though she says she refuses to go. My nephew is on it because he’s a big baby who won’t go and get his medical tests. Sweetie is on it too. He usually is. Three of our kids are on it but are shifting down and may be off soon. Thank goodness, none of the grandkids are on it. At least not as I write.
The worry list is something my mother created. My sister and I thought it was brilliant so we each created our own. More often than not, they merge into one big worry list. At any given time there are at least half a dozen family members and friends that occupy a space on it. People shift up and down depending on how much worry they are generating. They also come and go. I myself have been up and down, come and gone.
I am a worrier by nature. I would even venture to say I’m a world class worrier. I worry when one of our adult children doesn’t call after a visit to let me know they made it home safely. I worry when my people are experiencing relationship troubles. When they are having work difficulties. Health problems. Financial issues. I even worry about small children in strollers who aren’t wearing their mittens. You name it. Any type of difficulty might warrant holding space on the worry list.
You might be surprised to know that having a worry list is a very good thing. Especially if you are a person who likes to be organized. And who likes lists. Even virtual ones.
Having a worry list means that I can sort everyone out in my head at any given time and determine how much of my brain, my heart and my soul they need today. It helps me keep track. It helps me decide if I need to act. And when someone gets shifted right off the list, I feel as if I’ve accomplished something brilliant. Even if I had nothing to do with it. But I have the satisfaction of crossing them off.
I’m not always aware when someone has dropped off. It’s more of a gradual realization. I’ll be talking with my mother and suddenly realize that my son has shifted down! Or my nephew is off. Conversely, it’s always crystal clear when someone gets added to the list. Never happy about that. But at least I can keep track.
Dr. Edward Hallowell is a psychiatrist and author of a book about worrying. (http://www.drhallowell.com/books/worry/) He says toxic worry can be harmful for your mental and physical health because it paralyzes you. There is such a thing though as good worry. Yes! Good worry can lead to constructive action. Even if that action is simply reviewing your worry list.
I don’t think I’m on anyone’s worry list right now. Feeling pretty smug about that. But today my worry list feels weighty. A lot of people in my life are going through difficult times right now. In my head, my heart and my soul, I am wishing you all peace, happiness, good health. I can’t wait to erase your names.