I’ve always been a worrier.
Whenever my dad and my dog Rosco leave for one of the zillion or so walks they take together each day, my stomach clenches up tighter than a fist and I feel like the back of my throat is closing up until the moment they both arrive back home, safe and sound.
Call me silly, if you like, but in most cases, the worries I feel are grounded in reality. After all, it was less than 2 years ago that my pug Chip was killed by a horrible neighbor’s vicious dog while out for one of the very same walks that Rosco and Dad go on every day.
I’m neurotic, sure, but you can’t say I don’t have good reason to be.
Still, I’ll admit, it’s not a pleasant way to live.
So, when a friend (who’s also a worrier) told me about a book he was reading—The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson—I figured it was worth taking a look.
What I learned was that, in terms of broad philosophy, I already do most of the things the book advocates—for example, not paying much heed to the “expectations” of society or caring a whole lot about what other people think of me. You can’t live a happy life as a hermit in a basement unless you’re NOT too tuned in to what society thinks is “cool.”
But there WAS a valuable message in the book for a person like me: You should save the f***s you give for the big and important stuff because it’s just not worth fretting over the little things.
And, boy, do I fret.
Not only do I worry incessantly about things like my dog’s health and safety, but I also let myself get angry over petty matters. No, let me rephrase that: I don’t just get angry. I get PISSED. Furious. Filled with blinding rage.
Basically, at any given moment during any given day, my guts are roiling over something I find irritating: for instance, my neighbor’s failure to walk his dog often enough or to shovel his walk after the latest snowstorm, leaving the sidewalk an icy mess.
After reading The Subtle Art, I’ve been working hard to let these little annoyances (which could easily take over my life, since they are EVERYWHERE) roll off my back.
And, for the most part, I’m succeeding.
It’s funny: Life is a LOT more pleasant when I can allow myself to laugh at my lazy neighbor instead of getting riled up with anger (especially now that karma seems to have stepped in and given him . . . wait for it . . . BEDBUGS!).
So, maybe I’ll keep doing my best to relax and save giving a f*** for the bigger things, like keeping an eye out for nasty dogs on Rosco’s daily walks.