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.
A selection of books by Darlene Foster
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.