I prefer to keep my mind on other things

A lot of people I know are worrying about money, afraid that they might not have enough to live on, whatever that means to them. Most people worry about something, and worrying about money seems to be everywhere now, along with worrying about global warming, the way worrying about the red menace and nuclear war seemed ubiquitous in the 1950s, when schools instilled fear as a matter of policy. Schools are no wiser now than they were then, by the way.

I think that even if most of us had a lot of money there would still likely be something that would furrow our brows. It might not be how to pay the mortgage, but it’d be something. I met a vivacious young woman recently who lamented and complained about what she imagined other people thought. She certainly didn’t know anybody who thought that way, and she was worried anyway because she knew they might be thinking something she didn’t approve of, and her concern was entailed by her sensitivity. It was the other people’s fault, too.

This young woman is maybe not the best example, because she is also a knockout and her little frets are part of what seems to be a more or less ongoing performance. Fine women tend to assume others are looking at them, and they’re usually right. Yes, I digress.

Having children makes a person susceptible to worry and served me up a lesson in when not to look, or the joy of ignorance. When our middle son was little I learned that playgrounds would be pleasant for me only if I did one of two things—committed myself to following him around poised for rescue, or let him go for himself and not watch. No contest, no worries.

A good friend of mine is homeless and seems to worry less than anybody I know, although none of us thought that material wealth brought serenity and well-being, so maybe I needn’t be surprised. He also never badmouths people or has a discouraging word for anybody and is one of the most upbeat people I know.

I used to worry about money, and now, instead, many times a day I force my emotional load around money into a sleek slot of appreciation that there are no debtors’ prisons and the people I love are well fed and cozy when they want to be, and things are, after all, looking up. That’s better.

I reread recently about our thoughts being acts of either imagination or recollection, projections into the future or memories of the past. I have wonderful memories to entertain me, and it seems that the more attention I give the present, the more the future seems to work itself out for the best, even without my worrying. That’s much better.