When you’re a kid, life is deceptively simple. For me my biggest worry was missing my favorite soap opera I had gotten addicted to over the summer (which I wasn’t really allowed to watch, but still did anyway) but because I had to go to school. Class time was spent staring blankly at the blackboard. Wondering what was happening in the exciting lives of the show’s lead character.
Then I get thrown into adolescence and being a teenager, BANG! A whole new set of worries that creeps into my consciousness and this time they’re bigger and much more daunting. All of a sudden I have to worry about washing my face and taking a bath regularly; pimples and body odor becomes public enemy number one. Bathing and washing my face are a duty when they used to be fun. Food are relished and could have at any time during my childhood are suddenly prohibited, chocolates will make yourself break and ice cream is fattening. And all the movies say no boy likes fat, pimply girl.
On top of those physical changes, my studies become very, very serious. I find myself studying twice as hard, since my grades in high school determines what college I will go to! And the college I’ll end up determines my future! My future becomes very, very important the moment I enter teenage-hood.
I never had to worry about what my future would be in grade school. I don’t even remember studying (that is reading a book to review for a test) in grade school, but I remember frantically cramming for a test almost everyday in high school. It’s like, okey I’ve had my fun, now I have to start doing things that will shape me to become an adult. And then I discover the real meaning of worry.
The dictionary defines worry as “a mental distress or agitation resulting from cancer usually for something impending or anticipated“. The years of adolescence are the years we become who we are—and if we were to follow the trend, no one wants to end up fat, pimply and in the wrong job because we went to a wrong school.
What is the point of worrying anyway? It’s not exactly the fun thing to do—“hey guys, what do you want to do on a Saturday night?” “Well, I was thinking we could sit around and worry about whether or not we passed the monster test we had in history test last week?” “Yeah, cool! Par-tay!” And it’s not something you get awards in if you excelled at it—“Hey Ma, I’m the best worrier in class!”
I think worrying is what we do when we’re faced with a situation that’s beyond our control. To delude ourselves into thinking that we are in control, we worry. It makes us feel that we’re doing something about it, at least we feel like we’re taking control of the situation, when actually we’re not. Take this into consideration, worrying that you’re not going to look good in your prom dress is not going to make you more beautiful and slim all of a sudden (if anything, it may just look worse, especially if you wrinkle your brow or lose sleep while you’re worrying). Fretting that you’re never going to get a date to the prom isn’t going to produce a prince charming.
Agonizing whether or not you’ve passed your exam isn’t going to magically bring your grade up. All the worrying in the world won’t do anything but gives you headaches. We are actually so not in control. And that scares us.
The root of everything is fear. And the only way to let go of a fear is to face it. Have you seen contestants in Fear Factor? They are scared (or disgusted) like anything, but they take a breath, jump in and do it.
That’s what happens when we face our fears, too. We realize it isn’t really that bad, or if worst really does happen, we find that we can live to fight another day. To quote my favorite character in the movie Steel Magnolias, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.”
I know one can’t help but be worried. I’m not going to be arrogant and say I never worry—I’m just a neurotic as the next person. But you just have to take a deep breath and remind yourself: this, too, shall pass. Everything will be alright.