AoM Journaling Challenge Day 13: On Worry

Marcus Aurelius- Future Quote

Today’s AoM Journaling Challenge:

Perform a mind dump of everything you’re worried about. From the leaky dishwasher to your family member’s poor health — get it all out. Dwight D. Eisenhower did it, and it significantly helped him manage his stress. Just as your body needs to…cleanse itself of waste, so does your mind every once in a while. Getting all your stressors on paper may alleviate some of that pressure. Use David Allen’s GTD trigger list to help you out.

Life isn’t always clear-cut paths and bright cloudless skies. As much as I try to be mindful and not worry about the stresses that life brings, there are some concerns and uncertainties I just can’t help, but think about. In spite of my ideas about mortality there are some things I can’t help, but sometimes be worried about in some degree or that creep into my mind in the small hours of the morning and wake me from a sound sleep.

My worries mostly center around my ability to protect and provide for myself and others. I worry about being able to support those I love, whether that be through emotional or physical means. I worry about the health of my loved ones and whether I could support them if their health fails. I worry that I won’t be able to help provide for my parents as they age as they have so selflessly provided for me my entire life. I worry what would happen if my health failed, not in some quick accident, but in some slow process where I lose myself and what makes me me. I worry about spending enough time with those that I love. I worry that I won’t have enough time to complete and see all the things I want to do.

These are the worries which are the most salient to me and which will thread themselves through my dreams on nights when I am anxious.

While these worries are very real possibilities, I am able to calm my worries with the assurance that while I should be prepared, there are direct actions which can’t be taken until an event happens. This mode of thinking is not one that is new. Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor and stoic philosopher (26 April 121 – 17 March 180 CE), reflected, “Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.” Marcus Aurelius believes that you have all that you need already to arm you against the challenges that the future brings. To this end, I say one is armed with one more thing. The future you, whenever that future may be, will not only have reason, but experiences you have yet to learn to help confront whatever the future may bring.

To this end, what makes you worry and how do you overcome those worries?

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