I've never been what you'd call an anxious person.
No, for 99% of my life, I've stomped through my days like a lumberjack, crossing tasks off my to-do list with one hand while rooting around in a bag of Chili 'N Cheese Fritos with the other.
At the end of a typical day spent blissfully ignoring 1) my mounting credit-card debt, 2) the unzipping ozone layer and, 3) the Situation in the Middle East, I would snap into my footie pajamas, collapse into bed and saw logs like Hoss Cartwright until it was time to start it all over again the next morning.
At least, that's how it used to be.
I Miss Those Days (Dammit)
What is it they say about hindsight? About not appreciating how good we had it when we were in the process of having it? Something annoying, no doubt. Annoying but accurate (= even more annoying).
[Oh, great. I just flash-forwarded to a time in the not-too-distant future, I'm sure, when I'll look back on this moment and think, "Wasn't it great when all I worried about was how I was starting to develop annoying anxieties that disturbed my sleep patterns? Those were the good old days, boy. Yup, that was a Caribbean cruise compared to today with, you know, the chronic explosive diarrhea and that weird buzzing mole on my clavicle. *sigh*]
Yes, that's the situation: I am developing free-floating anxieties that are part Ninja, part door-to-door salesman. They lurk, nay, they lie in wait, timing their approach for the moment when I am most vulnerable.
Their arrival makes me feel like someone who has answered the door while running a bath upstairs. "You got me!" I want to say, shifting from foot to foot. "For the love of God, what must I buy to get you off my porch?!"
The anxieties slip into my room before dawn in their sparkle-appliqued caftans and elastic-waist pants, Lee Press-On nails clacking. (I've never gotten a clear glimpse, but that's how I picture them.) They begin their flat-footed polka around my bed like those dancing hippos from "Fantasia" and, no matter how hard I resist (telling myself I'm still dreaming that I'm a back-up cage-dancer for Sammy Davis, Jr.), the anxieties still get me.
And there I am: awake in the dark, my wide eyes glued to the ceiling and my mind grinding on a seemingly insurmountable problem, such as:
- When I take the kids to the orthodontist, should I park at a meter on the street or in the parking structure?
- Is it time to give in and start wearing reading glasses on a chain around my neck?
- Did I accidentally spend all of our money? And, if so, on what? (Corollary: did I keep the receipt?)
- Was the "pashmina" I just bought actually woven from Paris Hilton's castoff hair extensions? *
Of course, once morning comes and I'm lying face-up under the coffee-maker spout, those little problems that plagued me in the dark of night seem like piffle. Silliness. No big whup. Why, then, do I fester from 3-5 AM that I will not be able to find Morticia and Gomez if they go over to the grocery store's frozen aisle to fetch a box of Hot Pockets? For God's sakes, I hardly ever misplace the children!
Apparently, this is how I am now.
What happened to the rock-solid, keep-on-truckin' Anna of yore (or at least six months ago)? Who or what took a can opener to my suit of emotional armor? Was it I who neglected to button up the seat of my mental long johns? I'm feeling a draft and I don't like it one bit.
Seriously, what gives?
#1: It's A Natural Part of Getting Older
Let me get this straight: no matter how much we eat right, exercise regularly, give generously to public television and scoop our dogs' doodie with earth-friendly bags we will, in return, start twitching through the night like a popcorn kernel on a hibachi the minute we sprout our first gray hair? Are you friggin' kidding me?
If this is how the system works, then - at the rate I'm going - I'll be flapping around town in a chicken suit long before I qualify to order off the back page of the Denny's menu.
#2: It's Only Temporary
This sounds reassuring...on the surface. But look a little deeper into the notion of "temporary" and I think you'll agree it holds precious little comfort, especially where sleep-deprivation is involved.
For instance, anyone possessing even a passing familiarity with cosmology will tell you that our universe is constantly expanding - an expansion that will ultimately lead to its destruction a few million years down the road. Which is to say that our universe is (say it with me) temporary.
I don't know about you, but I just can't go that long without a decent night's sleep.
#3: I've Been Hexed
It's quite possible that someone out there somewhere has fashioned a mustachioed sock monkey with troublesome in-between bangs and a generous smattering of sun damage across the cleavage. Hey, it happens.
Fortunately, I'm close to perfecting my Reverse-Hex-O-Matic, which I've fashioned in my garage from a set of Buick hub caps, nine extra-long pipe cleaners, 47 pounds of baking soda and 3.6 yards of scrap hot-pink craft felt (along with a few other secret ingredients best left unlisted).
So, you know, at least I've got this option covered.
#4: I'm Losing My Mind
Now we're getting somewhere.