ROUGHLY HALF OF US spend half our waking moments worrying about things, which in itself is very worrying. Worriers are people obsessed with the future. They spend their time thinking about what might happen rather than what is happening. As the future never comes, their worries are never alleviated. Furthermore, the future is teeming with possibilities, so the worrier always has a range of calamitous options to select for
their undivided attention.
Worriers exhibit physical symptoms of their condition, normally a combination of permanently knitted brow, crushing headaches and fingernails chewed to the elbow. The reason they look so frazzled is that they are living two lives at once: one is the everyday one, and the other is a parallel universe of unspeakable horror. Worriers are usually very imaginative people in that they can visualise in great detail how everything could go wrong. In effect, they are daydreamers who specialise in nightmares.
Parents are forever worrying about their children. That’s because children don’t worry about things such as putting their hands into food blenders. With teenagers, it’s slightly different in that whatever nightmare scenario you imagine they’re involved in, it will probably be a pale and pleasant shadow of the truth. When parents stop worrying about the children, it’s time for the children to start worrying about the parents.
Worriers are rather envious of people who don’t worry because they think life is better for them. In reality, bad things continually happen to non-worriers, but they don’t worry about them, so they don’t seem half so bad.
Some people specialise in worrying about the past; they’ll wake up screaming about something they’ve done, like spilling the milk. Worrying about the past is for advanced worriers as what you are worrying about has actually happened. In fact, what these worriers are doing is worrying about the present and future consequences of a past action, so they get a three-worries-for-the-price-of-one bargain.
Worries come in several different sizes. Many people like their worries XXXL, such as nuclear war, environmental meltdown or the entire disintegration of civilisation. Others prefer worries in fun-size portions such as germs, unclaimed prize draws and unreliable egg timers. People prone to worrying often have accessories to help them with their affliction. Worry beads are one of these accessories, although research has shown that 7% of what the worrier is worried about is losing their worry beads.
© GUY BROWNING IS AUTHOR OF ‘NEVER PUSH WHEN IT SAYS PULL’ AND CREATOR OF ‘TORTOISE IN LOVE’ (DVD) – USED BY PERMISSION.