On worst case scenarios.

On worst case scenarios.

”Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.”
Benjamin Franklin

When I was a child I was afraid of thunderstorms. I was mostly afraid of the lightning, afraid that it would strike my house and burn it down. I didn’t know then that the electrical wiring in our basement would take care of that years later. I just knew that those giant claps of light were scary. I knew that lightning was a threat.

Do you ever wish for something to happen, pray for it to happen, and it doesn’t come to fruition? Do you ever feel like the things you think about most, the things you anticipate most, never actually play out like you imagine? Do you ever plan things out in your head, daydream, dream, but nothing you think about, wish for, ever comes to life?

Somewhere in my brilliant child mind I determined that you can trick fate by manipulating that notion. “If I just think about it,” I’d reason with myself, “if I spend all night thinking about lightning striking the house and burning it down, it won’t actually happen.”

And so, every time rain poured down and thunder crackled and lightning lit the sky, I would lie in the dark of my bedroom and tell myself over and over and over that it was going to strike my house, that it was going to burn my house down, wishing for and dreaming of the thing I wanted least to ensure that it wouldn’t transpire.

As an adult, I’m still scared of those storms. But now, I’m more afraid that my roof will start leaking again, sending water pouring down my living room walls. Whenever it storms I think about that. I brace myself for that.

I spend all summer imagining my air conditioner falling from the window and killing whoever is underneath it. And all winter thinking about my furnace blowing up. I spend every moment of every flight worried that the plane is going to crash. If my cats are playing on top of the cabinets I picture them falling down and breaking their paws.

In every situation, in every moment of the day, I am thinking about the worst case scenario. It’s become my body’s, my mind’s, response to any scheme.

Maybe there’s a part of my brain that still just thinks that if I anticipate the worst, I’ll get the best. Maybe my head just wants to be prepared. Maybe i’ll just always have to live in this state of panic, swimming in my own morbid thoughts.

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Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

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