"If I had just a little bit more money..." "If I win the lottery..."
"If I get the promotion..."
"If I get into that school..."
"If my idea hits..."
Complete those sentences however you like. At the heart of each is the notion that with a little (or a lot of) cash, the right opportunities, the stars aligning, or things going in our favor, we'll be set.
But what is "set"? Is there a certain amount of money we can have and then want no more? A certain pedigree, title, or recognition?
In my experience, each is ever-changing. Get a million bucks and then you'll be restless until you get a million more. Rise to run the company and then you'll itch to start your own and grow it bigger.
What we're all chasing is freedom from worry. We believe - for some reason - that if our bank account is big enough or our house is in the right city or if we meet the right person that we'll never worry again. Each night we'll lay down and while darkness settles in, our minds won't race with "what if?" questions about our lives. Certainly, at some point, worry will leave us and we'll be blissfully at peace with the world and our place in it.
Oh how I wish that were the case!
Get as much money as you want; it won't prevent any nasty disease from creeping in and ruining you. Find the right person; they don't come with an iron-clad guarantee and that they'll be around forever. Land your dream job; any company can go bust.
Does that cloud have a silver lining or is that its gray underbelly, waiting to burst and drench my parade?
None of us can live without worry. There's always something. The best we can hope to do is manage it, keep it at bay enough to enjoy our picnic in the sun. Sure, rain is possible, and if it falls, we'll pack up and dance barefoot while getting soaked, creating a memory that can't be duplicated or taken from us, captured in our hearts to draw upon when we're lonely or sad or bored so that we can remember the day when we laughed and did the Charleston, drenched, making the most of a bummer of a circumstance.
We can't truly ever live without worry, but perhaps we can find joy in its midst. The fragility of human relationships exists to remind us that these things aren't to be taken for granted, ensconced, buffed, and fit for a mantle to only be gazed upon when things are going well. The reality that any of our connections can fall to the floor should spur us to take care of each, to nurture and cradle them so that we can understand and appreciate what it is we're holding. And while it can still fall and shatter, it may be less likely to do so if we're careful, courteous, and conscious with what it is we have and cognizant of how beautiful and delicate these treasures of people are.
Worry is like a brake, then, there not to keep us idle, but to help us go as fast as we can, knowing that we will be able to slow or stop when our speed has reached a point that it can be dangerous. With time and wisdom, we can tap the pedal to call our attention to the proper guardrails and lanes so that we don't veer off aimlessly into a direction we shouldn't be headed.
No amount of anything will free you from worry. But the right amount of life will have you living fully despite worry's troublesome presence. Worry wasn't meant to drag you down. It was meant keep you grounded so you could flap your wings with rapturous joy when you get the chance to fly.