Julia Hoban is the debut author of Willow, which is amazing. If you haven't read it, please do soon!
If I had only known then….
When Hope asked me to contribute a post in celebration of her birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY HOPE!!) she very kindly suggested a topic for me to write about: could I please come up with something that I wish I had known when I was Hope’s age, something I know now, that might have made those years a little easier?
Well, there are many things I wish I had known as a teenager, but the first thing that came to my mind, the idea that would just not let go, the advice that I most wish Hope and all of her readers would take seriously is this:
I could of course follow that up and say BE HAPPY! But I won’t do that now. As far as I’m concerned, if you could all learn to worry a little less that would put you so far ahead of the game that happiness would naturally fall into place.
Now perhaps you think I am being presumptuous suggesting that you all are worriers to begin with, perhaps this was something unique to me in my teenage years…. I am sorry to say that I feel I am on reasonably safe ground here. Worrying, unfortunately, seems to be a fairly universal human trait. We worry about our grades, money, friends and boyfriends (or lack thereof), what people think of us (possibly the biggest waste of emotional energy), our looks (tied for first as far as a waste of emotional energy goes), the list is never ending….
I think the most pernicious thing about worrying, the reason so many of us do it so often and so well is this: when we worry, we mistakenly believe that we are doing something constructive, that the act of worrying will somehow help. But let me ask you this, has worrying ever done anything for you? If you are worrying about your grades, has the worry helped you to come up with a plan to improve them? If you are worrying about money, has worrying helped you think of ways that you might save, or look for a part time job? If you are worrying about your looks, does worrying make you feel more self confident? My guess is NO! Worrying only makes the situation worse! Think of all the things you could be doing with that emotional energy! If things seem too overwhelming, if you cannot come up with a positive response to the situation, then curl up with a good book, at the very least it will be a vast improvement on worrying, and leave you feeling emotionally refreshed, instead of drained.
There’s one more thing I’d like to say about the uselessness of worrying: so often, it seems as if things are turning out for the worst, that the situation we are in is just too awful, clearly being fretful and anxious is nothing more than a mild response to events. But are things really as bad as they seem? I don’t want to suggest that everything happens for the best, that is not always true. But, there have been many times in my life where something apparently catastrophic has happened, only to turn out later to have been an unforeseen boon. We can never know what lies on the other side of adversity, and to worry is to be faithless, when we are most in need of faith.
I’d like to repeat my advice once more: DON’T WORRY! And this time I will add BE HAPPY! To Hope on her birthday, and to all of her readers, my very best!!!!!!
Thank you Julia!
This concludes the two week birthday celebration! I have all the contest winners picked out and they will be posted later tonight after my party. =) Hope you all enjoyed it. =)