Monday, February 06, 2006

...Living in the Moment

Besides a bigger than average nose, the most stereotypically Jewish thing about me is my bundle of neuroses. The ability to look at every situation from a “worst case scenario” point of view. This probably explains why I’ve always been a big fan of Woody Allen movies – I’ve always been able to relate to the main character.

Just recently I made arrangements for my family to spend a week this Summer at the Disneyworld Resort in Orlando. Instead of eager anticipation of what should be an incredibly fun and memorable week with my family, all I’ve been doing is worrying, as I do every time I’m required to travel by aircraft, about how in the world I’m going to handle two 4 ½ plane flights within the same week. I’ve always had a healthy fear of flying – I remember being 8 years old, and getting ready to go on a family trip to Israel. I figured it was unrealistic to expect to actually make it through such a long, trans-continental flight, so when I prayed to G-d I didn’t ask for us to have a safe trip, I made what I thought was a much more reasonable request that we not crash until at least the final leg of our flight, from Paris to Tel Aviv, so we could at least prolong our lives for a few additional hours.

Come to think of it, the first sign of my anxiety disorder may have come a few years prior to this, as my family still teases me about the time we were driving up Mt. Diablo and I spent the entire trip telling my dad “May the force be with you” as I peered off to the side of the road and saw the very long fall ahead of us should our car veer off the side of the cliff.

I’d like to think I’ve become more rational with time, but, if anything, my paranoia has only gotten worse. Just ask my wife, who I’m sure had second thoughts about her choice of a spouse on our honeymoon flight to Cancun, when despite a Xanax I spent the entire flight fighting off panic attacks by tightly shutting my eyes, gripping my armrests for dear life and drinking, literally, 12 bottles of water (thank heaven we were seated right next to the lavatory) due to the fact my intense fear tends to cause my throat to close up and drinking water is the only way to assure myself I can still swallow properly and won’t suffocate to death.

During one of the Summers I spent at sleepaway camp as a pre-teen, my counselor informed me that my parents had contacted the camp to rearrange my return schedule, letting me know I was to take a different bus than originally planned. Despite receiving a letter from my father confirming this change in itinerary, I nevertheless couldn’t help but imagine the possibility of being stranded at a strange location with nobody there to pick me up and take me home, a fear that disturbed me to the point I woke up in the middle of the night and barfed all over my bunk.

I remember successfully begging my dad to take me to wrestling matches the first time the WWF came to the Bay Area in 1983. Once we got to the arena, the first thing I did was ask my dad if we had to stay the whole time, suggesting we leave prior to the main event. I figured the chances of some sort of riot occurring were high and seeing as how my dad got us front-row tickets I thought we’d get trampled for sure.

A little over 8 years ago I purchased my first car, as in the first car I picked out myself and paid for with my own money. While there was some initial excitement - I distinctly remember yelping out a pretty loud ‘WHOOOOOHOOO!” on the drive from the dealership back to my apartment - this elation quickly turned into intense regret. Not that there was anything wrong with the car (which actually lasted me until this past Summer), but because I couldn’t help but wonder how in the world I let myself agree to a car payment that was sure to put me in complete financial ruin. By the end of the day I was one step away from curling into the fetal position and weeping myself to sleep.

At the hospital where my son was born, their policy is to give the baby time alone with his or her parents following the birth, as opposed to immediately taking the baby away to be weighed and measured. Which was nice policy in theory; I’m glad the first moments of my son’s life were spent being held by me and my wife as opposed to shoved onto a scale. But they took a really long time coming back to the room to take his measurements, so instead of having joyful remembrances of my son’s first night on the planet the majority of my memories are of me stressing out, pacing back and forth, constantly peering out of the room to see if anyone was headed back in our direction, bugging my post-partum wife by asking her over and over again, “Do you think they forgot that they haven’t taken his measurements yet? Do you think I should call the nurses station to remind them? Well, do you? Do you? What do you think?”

Less than a week away now from moving into our dream house after nearly a years wait, I’m finding that whatever possible joy I’m supposed to be feeling is being usurped by nagging fears. Immediate ones like, “Will everyone who agreed to help us move this weekend remember to show up?” to more far off ones like, “What if I screw up painting the inside of the house and end up getting paint stains on the carpet?” or “When will we have the money to properly landscape the backyard, preferably with a pool?” I'm sure someday I'll have a proper perspective and will realize how wonderful what I'm going through right now is. But I'm guessing not anytime soon.
<< List
Jewish Bloggers
Join >>
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by

< ? California Blogs # >
Powered by Blogger