I’ve said before that I’ve never met an anxiety I couldn’t internalize. If the tiniest potential for anxiety exists, I will be awash in it. Doesn’t matter what it is. I’m not choosy; I can be anxious about anything. For instance:
• Eating pickles. (I once had the Heimlich maneuver performed on me after I inhaled a bite of a garlic dill. It worked, thank Heaven.)
• The warning lights in my car. (“Warning: Low tire pressure. Safely pull over and come to a complete stop.” “Warning: Outside temperature 37 degrees.” “Warning: Severe angle. Secure car against rolling.” Or my favorite. “Warning: Hood unlatched. Stop and secure hood immediately to avoid a serious accident.”) I miss the days when cars didn’t share their own anxieties so freely.
• Flying. Don’t even talk to me about flying.
Just writing about those things sends my heartrate and respiration up.
So of course getting ready to go on vacation sends me into a tailspin. The many preparations to make, the tasks to accomplish. What if I forget or overlook something? The possibilities for disasters, from the minor to the mid-range to the genuinely catastrophic, are so boundless it’s impossible to consider them all properly during daylight hours. That’s what nighttime’s many sleepless hours are for, right? Once we’re safely at our destination, the anxiety just keeps going. Did I remember to turn off the coffeemaker? Guess I’ll find out when we return to the smoking ruins of our home.
This is why I’m so thankful today. This past week, Glen and I went on vacation. Eight days’ worth. We had a wonderful time. We went to visit Katie and her husband Wesley in Oklahoma. Katie made a range of spectacular handcrafted cocktails each evening: blended or shaken to the precise second, with some ingredients added by eyedropper, with exactitude. Wesley demonstrated his impressive culinary gifts with green chile-spiced queso, grilled bacon-wrapped shrimp, and tender, perfectly seasoned bratwurst—all homemade. I’m no slouch in the kitchen, but just the thought of grinding and stuffing my own bratwurst, or of making cocktails demanding such precision that you add ingredients with an eyedropper, makes me nervous. Yet they did it all with a relaxed aplomb that boggled the mind of this anxiety-ridden person.
As if that weren’t enough, while we were there we spent some time in the casinos playing the slots. After a poor start, we actually started winning (!), and very nearly broke even.
Yeah. It shocked me too.
But endings are inevitable. After our fun, and our wonderful treat in seeing the kids, vacation was over. Here’s the really amazing part:
Yesterday, we drove home again. SAFELY. And discovered that nothing terrible was amiss. All the cows were accounted for. The torrent of rain we had while we were gone had made everything green, filled the stock tanks and the bottomland, but did no damage. The farmhouse was still standing, and the coffeemaker was indeed turned off. (Unplugged, even. Yay, me!) And Phoebe and Lucy were healthy, happy and delighted to see us again.
Glen has told me often over the years that most of the things I worry about will never happen. He points out that I’d be freer and more relaxed without this enormous psychological burden. He’s right, of course. Nevertheless, when things are going well, it seems almost miraculous. Thus, today I’m filled with gratitude. Not only for the large blessings, like the time spent with our loved ones, our safe return and our beloved animals, but also for the smaller ones. Our own bed, pillows, sheets. Our brand of coffee.
And for the Lyle Lovett concert tonight with our dear friends Jim and Karen. What more could I ask for?
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