Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Darlene Foster

I am sure like me, there have been times when you have wondered what difference might have been made to your life, if your younger self had been gifted with the experience and knowledge you have accumulated over the years.

I invited several friends from the writing community to share their thoughts on this subject which I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did.

I wish I knew then what I know now! by Darlene Foster

I believe we learn as we go, and specific knowledge appears when we need it. If we knew everything at birth, there would be nothing to live for. But one thing I wish I had learned earlier in life is that worrying is futile.

I come from a long line of worriers; my mother and grandmother were masters of the art of worrying. I’m sure the women who came before them were as well. I come by it naturally as it is in my DNA. Even as a small child, I spent many sleepless nights worrying. I worried about what would happen if our parents died, if there would be a nuclear war, if I failed to get good marks in school, or if Dad’s crops would be destroyed by drought, hail etc. and we wouldn’t have enough money to survive.

Later, when I became a mother, the worry increased tenfold, because then I had little people to worry about as well. Even when they became big people, the worry continued. When my daughter decided to move to a small, remote island, I asked her, “What if you have children and they get sick or break a limb? How will they get medical attention? And how will they get to school?” My daughter replied, “Mom, stop worrying about grandchildren you don´t even have.”

I had fabulous jobs over the years but worried I wasn’t working hard enough or doing a good enough job. I worked with youth at risk and worried about each one of them because I felt no one else did. I had to take stress leave from another job as the constant worrying affected my sleep and my health.

And then I wrote a book! Now I really had something to worry about. Would anyone want to publish it? Would anyone ever read it? What if everyone hated it? What if I get bad reviews? What if I’m not able to write another one? What if people realize I don´t know what I’m doing?

I know I´m not the only person to feel this way; it is typical of individuals in the creative fields. I was surprised to read that the award-winning actor, Helen Mirren, in a recent interview stated, “There´s always that endless, niggling feeling: ‘Oh god, I´m going to be found out any minute now. I got away with it that time, but the next time I´ll be found out.’
The problem with all this ceaseless worrying is that it can be debilitating and take the joy out of life. It can cause health issues, both physical and mental. It can also stop you from creating.

Two years ago, the pandemic hit, and I decided not to worry about it. There wasn’t much I could do about it besides following the required safety measures. I lived one day at a time, carried on as usual and took advantage of the extra time I had since I could no longer travel and socialize. I read books I had wanted to read for years, I tried new recipes, I connected with long time friends via social media, I wrote a lot, and even tried poetry. I allowed myself to relax and not to worry.

The result was the realization that I had wasted way too much time of my life needlessly worrying. It doesn’t mean I care less, it simply means I have learned to trust that life will turn out the way it is supposed to. I’m much more content, more productive, and I sleep well. As Bobby McFarrin sang, “Don’t worry, be happy.”

I just wish it hadn’t taken me so long to learn this. I guess it took a pandemic to teach me this valuable lesson.

©Darlene Foster 2022

My thanks to Darlene for sharing her thoughts with us on the prompt and I am sure like me you too have spent a great deal of time worrying about things we have little control over. We would do well to heed her advice…I know Darlene would love your comment on the subject.

About Darlene Foster

Growing up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, traveling the world, and meeting interesting people. She also believed in making her dreams come true. It’s no surprise she’s now the award-winning author of Amanda Travels, a children’s adventure series featuring a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places. Readers of all ages enjoy following Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. When not traveling herself, Darlene divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca, Spain with her husband and entertaining rescue dogs, Dot and Lia.

Find out more about Darlene’s books and read the reviews: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Website/Blog: Darlene Foster WordPressGoodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @supermegawoman

A selection of books by Darlene Foster

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My review for Amanda in Malta May 2021

This book is a fantastic mystery thriller for young readers. It would also be a wonderful guidebook for anyone visiting Malta with their family and wanting to get the most out of their time of this ancient Mediterranean island.

Amanda and her friends Caleb and Leah get involved in two potentially dangerous criminal activities as they explore the island with Caleb’s parents, unsuspecting of the younger generation’s involvement in solving mysteries sounding missing artifacts and endangered wildlife.

We get a guided tour of some of the main tourist attractions on and around the islands, including churches with miracles and artifacts, museums, the falconry centre and the Popeye theme park. As in any well written adventure stories, there are some heart stopping moments, as nature and criminals do their best to ruin the holiday, but the resourceful teens are on a mission to solve the mysteries.

The author has created some wonderful characters to undertake this well researched and entertaining adventure, and developed an exciting plot for young readers and those of us who are delighted to tag along.

I lived in Malta as a child and have returned since, and I appreciated the attention to detail about the history of the three main islands and tourist attractions. Not to mention a reminder of sunlit blue seas and the delicious Patizzi.. pastry filled with Ricotta cheese.

Recommended as an entertaining, exciting and educational read for anyone from young teen upwards.

 

Thanks for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share Darlene’s post.. thanks Sally.

140 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Darlene Foster

  1. Hi Darlene, I loved reading how you’ve dealt with worrying all your life. I think you’re very adventurous, moving to Spain and writing your books, so I would never have expected you to be a worrier. I’m so glad you’re happier now. Toni x

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Indeed, i agree. “Don’t worry, be happy.”
    I’m a worrier too but mine is more doubt.
    I’ve learnt to just ‘Be Myself’, but it can be a worry at times.
    Writing and other creative tasks certainly help.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. What a wonderful post, Darlene! And so TRUE!! I’ve done my share of needless worrying, as well, but have been making a conscious effort for the last decade or so to focus more on doing the things I love instead of worrying that I’d fail at them. (The only ones in life who AREN’T failing now and then are those who never try.) Thank you for reminding me that once we’ve done all we can about any issue, we need to let go of the useless fretting and have faith that it will always work out exactly as it should.

    Sally, thanks for having Darlene here today for this wonderful new series, and I’m going to remind myself of everything she said as I work on getting this computer situation back in order and being able to return to visiting all my favorite blogs again. SUPER POST, you two! ❤️🤗❤️

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I think we are related, Darlene! For years, I struggled with worrying. I would lay in bed at night for hours allowing my mind to play out all kinds of scenarios. I’ve finally been able to let it go. I keep this quote handy: “Both faith and fear may sail into your harbor, but only allow faith to drop anchor.” Thanks for sharing, ladies! xo

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Amen. You are so right, Darlene, worrying is a big waste of energy and of time. I had my share of it, like you, both professionally and in raising a family. When I discovered meditation my worrying came to an end. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us, and thanks to Sally for hosting. Hugs

    P.S. Don’t worry, be happy.

    Reblogged on Improvisation – “The Art of Living”
    https://williampriceking.tumblr.com/

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Worry is a natural instinct Darlene. We may try to shove it away each time it gnaws at our heart, it keeps returning! I am glad you learned to keep it within limits. Nice share. Thank you girls.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. You wrote this for me, didn’t you, Darlene! This is such a recognisable situation. I also come from a long line of worriers but I’m learning to let go of the things over which I have no control. As Harmony says, all worry does is have a negative effect on your body and controlling that harm has to be a good thing. Smashing post, Darlene, and many thanks to Sally for this great series!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Hi Darlene, I was interested in your comments about being a worrier, descended from a line of worriers. I too am a great worrier, but I worry about different things. I worry a lot about finances and not having enough money. As a result, I never stop working. This is a result of my childhood that was pitted with financial catastrophes. The things I worried about often did come to pass. Strangely, I never worried about my books at all. I consider them to be a bit of a personal indulgence from my own self-satisfaction. Of course, I love it when people enjoy them, but their success or failure does not define my satisfaction with them. If that makes any sense. I am glad you have a grip on it. My mother always used to say that worry is the price paid on something that may never happen.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I worry about everything, Darlene. I want to solve every little problem so I don’t have to worry but after I solve one, many more come. I need to constantly remind myself of “Let go” and “Let’s live.” Wonderful share, Darlene and Sally.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Great post Darlene. As a chronic worrier all of my life, I get everything you said. Yes, it’s futile, but controlling it is sometimes like trying to fend off depression or anxiety. It’s something we have to consciously work on. Good for you. ❤

    Liked by 4 people

  11. It seems we are all worriers, surely it is natural to worry to a certain extent. Anticipating the worst that can happen does at least make you prepared! But of course it also stops you from doing things and going places!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I made a promise to myself that I would only blog 15 minutes per day while I’m traveling, so consider it a huge compliment that I chose to read your thoughts, Darlene. I completely understand how you feel as a a worrier (I’m the same way) and how taking something negative (Covid) and turning it into a positive (not worrying and embracing life for all its joys). I think you probably added some years to your life by making this healthy change.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I was surprised to read that you were a worrier, Darlene. My mother was a chronic worrier, and I picked it up from her, although not as badly. I think the realization that worrying about things you can’t change is useless is one of the gifts of growing older.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I’m so glad to have read this, Darlene. I never would have guessed you were a worrier. I spent a whole lot of time doing the same thing and finally got it through my head that it is a total waste of time. It’s nice you got there too. Thanks for the inspiring post.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. What a lovely post from Darlene and jam packed with wisdom. I love how the “big” worry came when she wrote a book. Lol. I guess that worry was needless with all her success. Worry can sometimes propel us into taking action, but I totally agree with Darlene that usually it’s just a waste of mental energy. Great post, Darlene, and fun share, Sally. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Grrat advice, Darlene:) I come from a long line of worriers too. I’m working on it but writing, especially Poetry does seem to take thise worries away. Xo

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I had an aunt who was a master-worrier. My mother (who was her sister) was the opposite. I took more after my mother. If I can’t fix something, there is no need for me to worry over it. Thanks for sharing this, Darlene. Such great advice! And thank you, Sally, for hosting this wonderful series!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I really enjoyed Darlene’s story, and I can relate. My worry wasn’t intense, but it was there, and I’m sure robbed me of stopping to smell the roses at times. I’m glad that the pandemic gave you a new perspective, Darlene. There is always good, we just need to look for it. Many thanks Sally and Darlene!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Reblogged this on Darlene Foster's Blog and commented:
    I am part of an excellent series on Sally Cronin’s blog called, I Wish I knew Then What I Know Now. There are many things I wish I knew when I was younger but I chose to talk about unnecessary worrying. If you haven’t already read it on Sally’s popular blog, check it out and let me know what you think about the subject.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Wonderfully honest article. I enjoyed reading it and especially liked the line, ‘If we knew everything at birth there would be nothing to live for’. Thank you, Darlene for sharing your story and wisdom in this post.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. If worrying turns into a plan of action, I suppose then it could be helpful; otherwise, it’s a waste of time. Thanks for sharing your vulnerable side, Darlene, and Sally for hosting.
    One commenter posted a video I enjoyed – ha! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  22. I found Darlene’s thoughts about worry interesting as I’m a bit of a worrier too. I agree with her about the worry increasing when children appear on the scene. I think that’s when mine began. I probably don’t over-worry, but tend more to anxiety and suffered panic attacks for a while, which I learned to control to a certain extent. This is a great topic for a series, Sally. Well done. I’ll try to catch up with more if I can.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – May 2nd – 8th 2022 – Voice of Indie, Hits 1994, Ella Fitzgerald, Guest Posts, Short Stories, Poetry, Health and Humour | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  24. I’m a massive huge worrier! After losing my dad to pancreatic cancer in November 2020, my writing group then asked me to leave as I wasn’t great at critiquing their work. January time 2021.. my writing soon after came to an abrupt halt! Writing confidence fell through the floor and I haven’t looked at my far away from published book since. I wrote on my blog through November 2021 and for now have given up again with all the pressures and stresses of life with my children and family. Every night now I’m falling asleep reading, I know I need to write. However, so many worries and thoughts are forever racing through my head and holding me back. Thanks Darlene for writing this.. I know I need to adopt, ‘Hakuna Matata’ (The Lion King) – ‘No Worries ‘ but this is very hard to do!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marian, unless you are wearing spandex and a cape you, are like millions of us a mere mortal. You sound like you have a great deal on your plate already and as many of those reading this will tell you, they were like myself in their 40s, 50s, 60s and some 70’s before they had their first books published. As to your writing group, if you gave honest critiques then the onus is on them to worry about the issue not you. Cut yourself some slack and I am sure Darlene will tell you exactly the same thing. Life is too short enjoy the moment whatever form that takes.. hugsxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thankyou! Yes, I did give honest critiques, but sometimes I struggled to understand what they were writing about. Plus im always busy with my two children and they are my priority. I do try and take things a day at a time, but this is not always easy. Hugs to you too x x

        Liked by 2 people

    • We have all been there. Hang in there, it will get better. As Sally said, life is too short to not enjoy the moment. I didn’t publish my first book until I was 60. Children were grown up and life had settled down, somewhat. I think we all put too much pressure on ourselves. I wish I had known then…

      Liked by 1 person

  25. It’s taken me too long to get back here, Darlene but I wanted to have time to fully digest this after reading the first lines. This resonates fully for me and I’d imagine many others. As a Virgo, I always joke that worry is built into my DNA too. I took it to professional status like you have. Then someone wrote that worrying was like praying for something you don’t want to happen. Or sitting in a rocking chair expecting to get somewhere in it. If I have no control over it personally, I’ve learned to let it go. If there is something I can do about, the I do it and let it go. Stress kills and maims more people than anything else. You said exactly that. Too bad it took us so long to get that lesson. And we gives others grief for not worrying about things. 😉 Loved reading this for the reinforcement. Thanks, Sally for asking the questions.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. It’s nice to know that more of us have been worriers than I realized. Reading what you shared Darlene is like reading my autobiography (different characters and situations). I let it go when I retired about 9 years ago. My faith finally took hold…let go…let God!! I’ve never looked back. Thanks for hosting this Sally!!

    Liked by 2 people

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