on worrying

So I just got a hopped-up-on-Oxycontin call from my dad. He just got his hip replaced (just, as in earlier today). I found myself very relieved to hear his (frankly, kind of excessively) cheerful tone, and astonished to learn that he’s expected to walk up and down stairs (!) before he checks out of the hospital tomorrow (!!).

However, prior to that phone call, I found myself shocked, shocked, shocked at how worried I was.

The thing is, my dad isn’t a terrible person, but he’s also not especially fatherly. I haven’t stayed in his house since high school, and don’t really intent to at any future point. I often think about him like a weird uncle who I see from time to time. I don’t depend on him for a great deal, particularly not on the emotional stuff. I called him to tell him I got into grad school, and he said “Oh, that’s nice. Now let me tell you about my Obamacare…” (he is REALLY INTO his Obamacare. As the new hip would suggest.)

But then last night I found myself up at 3am, praying and panicking at the thought of him going under anesthesia and never waking up (sidebar: I just learned from him that you don’t even go under general for this surgery, it’s just a spinal block). I felt guilty for not being in Virginia where he is (despite him explicitly saying that he didn’t need me there, and despite the fact that I saw him last week when I was visiting the fam).

It goes to show you, everyone has their ways of expressing love, and for me it is most definitely worrying. I worry about my sister, that she succeeds with her plans to go back to school and finds work-life balance and gets to meet cool people her own age instead of working in a grim lonely office. I worry about my mom, that she finds work-life balance and has a nice fella around (though she seems to at the moment :D). I worry about Steve a ton, that he finds work-life balance (I seem to associate with a lot of workaholics, eh?) and finds a good place to live and gets to bike around and gets to go adventuring and gets to live and work in keeping with his ideals about protecting the environment.

And then of course I worry about everyone in Gaza, and Iraq, and Syria, and Liberia (ebola, agh!) and on and on and on.

Is worrying productive? Is it good? Guilt and shame certainly aren’t, as a year of therapy taught me- feeling guilty about all the things I ought to be doing to be “good”. Both personally (being a perfect worker/student, working out daily, eating pristine whole foods, etc.) and in my relationships (being the perfect girlfriend, indispensible to Steve, saving him from any and all heartaches that might befall him).

But where does worrying fit into all this? I like being a good listener. I like being a reliable friend (though I often feel- surprise, surprise- that I fall short on that). I like being a conscientious worker. But sometimes I feel so exhausted by going through the basic aspects of life. Then of course I feel guilty about that (I’m financially comfortable and spoiled and don’t have to work for under $1 a day like so many in the world! I don’t have to work with toxic chemicals or do back-breaking manual labor!).

Still I wonder, is worrying keeping me from doing? Could I actually do more good things for myself (like exercise), do good things for others (go camping with Steve), and contribute to the world (volunteer) if I just didn’t spend so much energy on worrying unproductively?

Trying to figure this all out. In the meantime, I’ll try to check in with my dad once the meds wear off…


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