Today’s installment of the webcomic Todd & Penguin struck a chord with me:
Most people who know me socially remark on my generally sunny disposition. In fact, I remember jhayman asking me once “Are you always that cheerful?” My reply began: “No, but more often than not. I long ago came to the conclusion that you cannot always control what is going on around you, but you can always control how you react to what is going on around you. Positive attitude won’t solve all your problems, but a negative attitude will make all your problems worse. So why not go with the better percentage?”
And it’s true that this is how I try to live, and many times I succeed. But the flip side of my personality, which not everyone sees, is that I am always worrying about things. What have I missed? What am I not doing right now that I should be doing? What is going to go wrong? It’s no wonder that my favourite of Murphy’s General Laws is “If everything appears to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.”
I try not to obsess about these things to the point that they paralyze me, and I do make a conscious effort to put a positive spin on things, but the point is that it is a conscious effort. Worrying is my rest state. This is probably why I tend to be very shy of change, and why I always stress more at quarter end when work evaluations are due. Given nothing actually plausible to fret over, I’ll invent something to worry about. Am I boring to my sweeties? Have I offended someone terribly and that’s why I haven’t heard from them lately? Is a piece of the International Space Station about to fall to earth and land on my car?
I don’t expect to actually do anything about this, mind you. It’s just something to ponder this morning, as I try to recapture my normally blithe spirit in the wake of the last couple of days.