Worrying Versus Anticipation

This should come as no surprise. I am a chronic worrier. Uncertainty is the worst state for my mental health. I am sure I am not alone.

The thing is, I need to worry. If I don’t, I’ll worry about not being worried enough. Which is, I guess, in essence, the same thing. It’s totally twisted but I feel like I need to worry about all of the terrible things that could happen, in order for them to turn out okay. Ridiculous, right? If I don’t worry, I am convinced something will go horribly wrong and I won’t be prepared. By worrying, I truly believe I can prevent bad things. Since nothing ever happens as I predict, if I can just think of every possible horrific scenario, I believe I can wipe them out of existence. I need to imagine everything bad so that only good things will occur.

In a really messed up way, worrying comforts me. My worrying saves the world. It’s my public service, my tiny super-power. I’m Wonder Woman without a cape.

Shiva doesn’t ever seem to worry. I don’t know if dogs even have the capacity for such things. Even the most fearful dog probably doesn’t spend time contemplating future doom. They focus on what they are experiencing right now. It’s tremendously difficult for me to comprehend what that would be like. I don’t think I am capable of such a frame of mind.

By that same token, I don’t know if dogs are able to while away the hours in happy anticipation either. Which is one of my greatest pleasures. I like to look forward to things. The anticipation is often more exciting than the actual event. I’ve always preferred Christmas Eve to Christmas Day, the last day of work to the first day of vacation, the pre-trip planning to heading out on the road. My favourite day of the week is Thursday, not Friday. With positive things on the horizon, I don’t have to worry so much.

As I look at Shiva napping next to me after our morning walk, I instantly feel jealous of her easy relaxation. She doesn’t have even one little thing to worry about. However, she also doesn’t know how good she has it. Shiva doesn’t know it’s almost the weekend and that we have many awesome agility events planned.

In that way, it kind of sucks to be a dog.

If you haven’t seen it yet, my very first guest post is up on the Guarding Dogs Documentary Blog. It’s my attempt to share Shiva’s adoption story. It seems when it comes to her, I tend to be a little long-winded. You are all shocked, I know.

22 thoughts on “Worrying Versus Anticipation

  1. When a first home buyer I’m working with tells me she’s worried (or scared to death), I tell her that’s a sign she’s doing everything right. I don’t worry about people who worry.

    The folks who say, “hell yeah, I can buy a house. I’ll be getting a job soon” are the ones who keep me up at night.

    So you’re right, the inability to worry and anticipate isn’t always so hot. But I doubt Shiva minds too much.

    I hope you get as much joy from anticipation as you get angst from worrying. 🙂

    Congratulations on your guest post! Heading over there now.

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  2. Kristine, I swear it was me writing about worry! You and I are SO alike! I worry about everything and I worry that I worry too much! I also have that same “worse case scenario” complex, if I think of the absolute worst thing that could possibly happen in any given situation, it can never be that bad! I stay up at night worrying, about money, the dogs, the house etc. You know exactly what I mean!

    I did check out your guest blog and it was great to hear Shiva’s story about how you found each other. Some things are just meant to be and even worrying can’t change that!

    Great job and congrats on your guest spot.

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  3. I am a worrier too. Plus, because I’m a writer I have a creative tendency, and let’s just say the two don’t always go well together. I once heard the term called “catastrophising.” I do love looking at my relaxed, happy Kelly and trying to take a few cues from her!

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  4. I thought it was just my worrying that was saving the world. I call it anticipating the worse and like to pretend it marks my superiority over my dogs. I look for anything to mark my superiority over my dogs so that I don’t give in to jealousy of them. 🙂

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  5. I’m a big worrier too! I worry so much about things that are about to happen–traveling, getting a new foster dog–even though I’ve done them many times before and always enjoyed them.

    If I catch myself, and consciously remember that once I set off on that trip or once I get that foster dog I’ll have a blast, then the worry usually abates. Its work to remember but I need to get better at that practice!

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  6. Depending on the topic, I worry and worry, and then I frequently forget. Only to worrk anew. Anticipation can be similar!

    I don’t think dogs much worry, or anticipate, beyond a few minutes. It just isn’t worth it to them. Elka will anticipate the entire time I’m eating, say, or worry the whole time I’m doing dishes (I have no idea why), but stops when the stimulus stops. I don’t think dogs live purely “in the moment”; they definitely have memories, and feelings (I’m not a scientist, this is just what I think), but they certainly let things go faster.

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  7. I use to be a real worrier, but with age and health problems I have had no choice but to chill out. However that said, I am just like you, I prefer the anticipation. Christmas Eve is better than Christmas Day, the last day of work is better than the first day of your holiday, etc…..:)

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  8. I worry a lot too. It’s doubly bad because my husband is also a worrier. I like how you describe it as your public service, haha. I totally get that and feel the same way 😉

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  9. Wow! All that worrying has me exhausted! My husband is like you – but only when we go on vacation. He simply can’t relax imagining every single scenario that could go wrong with the animals while we’re away. I do think our dogs pick up on that when it happens in front of them, although maybe, after they’ve lived with it long enough, they could just tune it out. It’s so not their style. 🙂

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  10. Another chronic worrier here….dogs are VERY lucky in that regard!
    I never gave much thought to dog’s not being able to anticipate fun events. Hmmm…I guess some anticipate their owners coming home from work, or dinner time, but not much more than that.

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  11. I try to be a lot like my dogs…. and I can tell you, dogs do anticipate things! Just not for as long as humans. You should see Bender in the car on the way to the beach, or Barbie at least half an hour before our scheduled walk time! 😉

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  12. I am a professional worrier. I worry about things that most people would never even consider worrying about. LOL, and when I’m worrying about something COMPLETELY out of my control, I like to take it one step further and obsessive over the stupid tiny things I *can* control, like whether or not there are exactly 4 red pens and 4 blue pens on my desk ’cause that’s just how I roll. Crazy, I know. you are totally right though, anticipation is…*awesome*. I had never considered that dog’s miss out on this. And now I’m worrying that a little without anticipation must be terribly unsatisfying…

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  13. Man, can I relate! My life is all about figuring out all the worst that can happen, so if it ever does, I am ready for it! Bring it on!! Like you, I don’t know how I would live without it? Can you imagine??

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  14. Just this morning I said “I wish I wasn’t such a worrier!”- nice timing 🙂 I worry a lot too .. but I try not to worry too much about things I absolutely cannot control. It’s nice that our dogs just let us do all of the worrying for them, it makes their life so much simpler.

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  16. I have been out of blogland for over a week due to overwhelming anxiety from going back to school. I ended up dropping one course in order to restore balance. Unlike you,i don’t enjoy anticipation. I get most joy in the moment, once there’s nothing else to do and what’s done is done.

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