nose glassees

What if a wart grows on my nose?

Today is filled with uncertainty. No matter how much we plan, we have no idea what it will actually look like…if it will rain, shine, sleet or snow. It can change at any moment too. There are times when life is filled with joyful, beautiful unexpected surprises. Then there are times when we find ourselves pushed off a cliff as we flap our arms in hopes of not hitting the ground too hard.

We could spend our time worrying about what kind of week we are going to have or what kind of year we will finish with, but that kind of thinking does no good. Being ready and planning for potential problems is necessary, but worrying about whether a disaster will happen is pointless.

I used to be a worrier. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t a very positive person. I’m sure you’re shocked with that news, but it’s true. My thoughts were not filled with the possibilities of today, they were focused on the “what if’s” of tomorrow.

What if a wart grows on my nose?
What if I can’t take care of myself.
What if I wake up unable to do move.
What if…
What if…
What if…

So many what if’s filled my head and yet none of them have become a reality in my life. You know what I found? The things I was worried about were things I had no control over. Zero. Zip. Natta. None.

I had to make a change, not just for me but for those in my life who were being affected by my worries. If you haven’t realize it yet, others can feel your worries.

I remember reading a quote years ago: “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” Now that’s something to frame and hang by the front door as a reminder to live in the moment.

It wasn’t easy changing, but I started thinking about the things I was thinking about and began letting go of my worries. Instead of worrying about whether I might end up living in a nursing home one day, I began living. I was amazed at the number of worries I actually had. Every time a worry would pop into my head, I stopped and asked myself, “Is this problem solvable?” If I couldn’t do anything about it, I let it go.

I also distanced myself from the people around me who lived in a constant state of worry. I realized their worries, worried me. I didn’t need that. I was trying to rid myself of worries, not add to them. Over time I found myself actually enjoying life…a life filled with the possibilities of terrible disasters but lived with the peace of today.

Shel Silverstein wrote a great poem about the What if’s.

Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I’m dumb in school?
Whatif they’ve closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there’s poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don’t grow tall?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won’t bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don’t grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!

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About the Author
About the Author
Penelope Conway

Penelope Conway
Penelope started Positive Living with MS as a way to help others with MS stay positive in the midst of a terrible disease. She believes that staying positive and holding onto hope is the key to waking up each morning with the strength to get through the day. Multiple Sclerosis may never go away, but neither will her determination and her drive to help others through the journey.

11 replies
  1. Sandra voitka
    Sandra voitka says:

    You hit the mark for my family. YOU have a special talent. To dig deep, decipher and to share with others. I struggle with the what if and forget the moment. You are an inspiration.

  2. Joy
    Joy says:

    I could not sleep or lay in bed. I got up and opened to you and just what I needed to read.
    You have a great gift of making me smile and learning how to work my way through all the ups and downs. THANK YOU!!!

    Is there any way I can talk to you more in private? I had to stop with face book and will not return social media.. Just to much for me.
    Be looking for the next read..

  3. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    Life can be a worry, but don’t live with it. There are things to ‘worry’ about but they are not ‘what ifs’ just normal problems to solve (or not). We all have them and they are what makes part of our lives.
    We had a young woman living with us who has Aspergas and that makes her very worried about everything. I have heard it’s a common problem for those people and very hard to live with sometimes.
    But worrying only produces worry not anything useful, or helpful.
    I am concerned about several parts of my life that have ruined my mobility etc. but I work at making choices to make them livable for me and others around me.. Something’healthy’ people do all the time so don’y worry about it.

  4. Aileen Brown says:

    I have said before you above anyone has made me positive of course I have down days but most of the time I manage to stay upbeat and learning to accept your limitations also helps

  5. Kim Black-McKinley says:

    Thank you Penelope! As I lay here resting this morning, I catch myself thinking and worrying about all the “what’s going to happen to me kind of things”… I opened your article , and there again you give me strength… Thank you for being there, every time I need you.., it’s like your reading my mind…. ❤️

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