The Joy of Worry

I’m in the checkout line at Trader Joe’s (when am I NOT in the checkout line at Trader Joe’s?), and I suddenly realize I’ve left my cell phone in the car. Struck by the lack of distraction, I do something that I don’t do nearly enough: I let my mind wander.

My eyes alight on the kids’ soccer ball-sized seedless watermelon in my cart, which is snuggled in between a bag of mini sweet peppers and a box of organic mixed medley cherry tomatoes. Nothing is in season, and yet everything looks amazingly cute, sweet, and perfect.

This realization fills me with panic and possibly a small existential crisis. Once I have my trusty phone back in hand, I’ll easily confirm my worst fears — that no good can come of tiny, off-season, hybrid produce. (Spoiler Alert: Survey says, True Dat on the tomatoes, and the rest I’ll leave you to worry about.)

Still in the checkout line, I am now acutely aware that when I get back to the car, my phone will likely be lit up with texts, emails, and voicemails — so now I worry, what if my kids need me? They could be home alone when an earthquake hits (that did happen), injured at practice, or just generally in need of assistance on their race to nowhere. And here I am daydreaming about GMOs and global warming

Remember when we didn’t have these tiny handheld devices of the future? The things that drive us to distraction (and did you know that April is distracted driving month?), possibly cause cancer, and generally lead us to live a life of constant disruption and real-world disconnection?

Of course smart phones are just a gateway drug to the much more insidious Big Brother shenanigans that are about to explode. (Google glass, anyone?) Not like every single move I make isn’t already being tracked, up to and including my sadly predictable trips to the grocery store. I have no doubt that my purchases are routinely recorded, analyzed, and used to forecast future behaviors — perhaps nefariously so. Death by 100-calorie, 70% Dark Chocolate Bars now seems possible.

Now that I think about it, do I have too many “healthy” junk food snacks in my cart? I make a mental note to pop on goop when I get home for a good recipe for Detox Teriyaki Chicken but then again, I’ll run the risk of having to see that bittersweet sun-drenched Instragram of Gwyneth and Chris consciously uncoupling again.

Frankly, I don’t know if my soul can bear it.

Nor am I doing so well now that I realize that I’m a lazy, sack of shit working mom. (Ah, Gwenny, you were on a roll this past week, that’s for sure!) A wave of shame sweeps over me as I recognize that at 48 years old, my chances of being “discovered” are slim. How then can I ever understand true sacrifice if I don’t become an international film star?

And then there’s this: Will I ever be Upworthy?

I mean, I’m super tone deaf and I’m not a Mexican artist that does amazing things with decommissioned guns, so my rendition of John Lennon’s Imagine will never be this good, my Nelson Mandela tribute was mediocre at best, and if the Dalai Lama ever smelled my farts, it would not be filed under “Inspirational,” believe you me.

Would anyone mind if I crack open the Tito’s Handmade vodka and take a belt right here and now?

Don’t answer that — I know it’s not time to “take the edge off,” plus all those statistics about drinking and driving. And forget booze — just the other day my son’s high school called, reminding me of a parent meeting to discuss children and substance abuse, including a list of new drugs that nobody over 18 has heard of yet. Molly’s so 2013 (well, and 2012, 2011, 2009…); DXM and Sally-D anyone? Yeah, I don’t know either; I just did a little internet research, which only served to reassure me that I’m definitely one of those clueless parents.

And yet… so what if I am? Isn’t ignorance bliss?

OMG, remember bliss?

As if on cue, Trader Joe’s soundtrack starts playing, “You Make My Dreams Come True.” I take a deep breath and with the brute strength of John Oates’ mustache, I begin to consciously uncouple my fears and relax.

Thank you, Fearless Flyer for reminding me that there’s nothing to fear but fear itself… well, that and maybe tiny seedless watermelons…

So if you see me checking out at Trader Joe’s with a dumb look on my face, just know that worry is a wasted emotion, and death by 100-calorie, 70% dark chocolate is not so bad when you really think about it.

Now, check out this video (thank you, Sandra Grando!) — what you, worry? Screw that Existential Bummer and listen to filmmaker Jason Silva by trying your hardest to live life to its fullest instead — oh yeah baby, it’s awe-some and Upworthy, alright!