Enjoy Yourself

September 25, 2015

I have observed a rather unsettling habit in myself: no sooner do I achieve a goal, or acquire something I have been working towards, than I begin to worry about losing what I have just acquired.

This feeling is not entirely out of place. After all, if we value our own time and energy enough to spend it in pursuit of some end, it naturally follows that what was achieved is worth holding on to.

But I've noticed a tendency to let this "good anxiety" get out of control. It slowly builds until I can't relax anymore.

What I've realized is that much of my happiness, "our" happiness, is a function of making a conscious choice to responsibly ignore worrying about the future. Worrying about the future is useful inasmuch as it results in responsibly planning for the future. For example, heart disease runs in my family. My father was only a few years older than I am now when he needed emergency surgery for an artery blockage. I do worry about that happening to me, and because of that worry I've made exercising and eating (mostly) healthy a priority.

Similarly, worrying about financing college for your kids, or your own retirement, is a good reason to save money now. But there comes a point where I accept the fact that I've done, or am doing, all that's in my power. There are things I cannot control, and I can't worry about those things. I will work as hard as I can, exercise, eat well, save money, etc., but I can't control the economy, or my own genetics. So why worry?

When I stop worrying about losing what I have, and instead focus on enjoying what I have while it lasts, I find that I am able to conquer anxiety and truly live "in the moment."