Worries, Big and Small, Silly or Real

Notebook, 2016

Notebook, 2016

I’m worried. About… things.

I’m worried about work. Overall, my workload has been getting lighter and lighter for the past year or so. In my line of business, it doesn’t translate into clocking out early or leisurely paid hours watching the world go by, but into making frantic attempts to market my services and accepting smaller, lower paying jobs. Come on, phone, buzz! Someone, please, assign me something! New, reliable clients, fall in love with my skills!

I’m worried the cost of living is getting higher and higher and I’m being priced out of life’s little luxuries. I’m worried about my future—as a freelancer, I’m on my own. It’s not just about the money, I’m also worrying I’m losing my purpose. Words are my passion, my life. I don’t know what else to do. I don’t have a plan B career option, which is apparently a sin because I should know how to adapt to the market and follow trends (which I would totally do if I knew what they were in the first place…).

I’m worried about not being a good mother—nothing new here. Will Mark ever go pee without claiming a star sticker afterwards? Will the Dollar Store ever run out of cheap stickers? Did my ingenious potty-training system damaged him for life? I sure hope he won’t demand a glittery sticker as a reward from his bossfor each career milestone. Does he remember all the times I was angry, lacked patience, all the times I didn’t understand him or was unfair? Why do other kids keep on scratching him at school? Does he like the food I cook him? Does he like me?

I’m worried about Feng and I. I’m worried that he takes me for granted, that holding hands during a short car ride is now the equivalent of a torrid night of sex and that our only common goal is Mark. Does he still find me desirable? I worry about ended up alone—would I be good enough to meet someone else? How would I navigate the dating scene at thirty considering I didn’t have a clue about flirting with strangers when I was in my teens?

I’m worry about my mum, she is working too much. I worry about my dad who probably doesn’t get the success he deserves as an artist. I’m worry about my brother and sister—will they find their niche in a tough job market? They can’t be students forever.

I’m worried about the world. Every time I turn the TV on, I see Donald Trump’s orange face and people being hateful, narrow-minded, spiteful. I see the Eiffel Tower lit up in various colours in tribute to new, innocent victims for each new terrorist attacks and I’m worried this is becoming the new normal. I worry that personal freedom is being jeopardized, that the crazies are winning the war.

I’m worried that there isn’t more to life than this, a steady routine of tasks, chores, disappointment and duties. I’m worried that I’m too old and reasonable to dream of a better life—the adventurous mindset is for single twenty-something, not 33 year-old married woman with a kid.

I’m worried that I spend too much energy looking strong and being helpful and that no one ever suspects I might not have a clue.

I’m worried that no one will catch me if I fall.

I’m worried I can’t fix everything.

I’m worried that my worries are so mundane that they are hardly worth mentioning. Some people have to face real struggles and here I am, with my first-world dilemmas.

I can’t help it, this is the way I was wired. I don’t have the relentless optimism North Americans find in their breakfast cereals.

When he is worried, Feng sulks or blames the entire world. I write or escape—often literally. I head out, take walks, as if my legs were powering my brain and as if the faster I walked, the more inspired I would be.

Alright, that’s it. I’m finishing this can of Coke, aka a dose of pure American optimism and I’m done whining.

Time to take control and stop being negative.


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. This is not whining at all. Those thoughts aren’t even negative… I think they are important. They are important in order to find your own path and keep looking for what you want from life, work, and relationships.
    I worry a bit too much too, in fact, I could have written this article. Worry but… just don’t worry too much neither!

    • It’s probably healthy to worry, but then I’m worrying I’m worrying too much. Can’t win! 😆 I try to walk the thin line between negativity/realism.

  2. You’re not alone in your worries! For me the specifics are different, but the categories are the same: family, work, relationships, purpose, the state of the world. Also, to what extent to worry about each thing. Which things are productive to worry about (because it will motivate us to improve the situation) and which we should not bother worrying about.

    I do remember some moments that my parents were angry at me as a kid, but I don’t hold it against them because it’s normal for parents to get mad sometimes, and the good memories of childhood outweigh the bad ones. Re: food, I think all your readers can attest to at least your top-notch lunchbox making skills. We all want one. The kids scratching him bothers me, though. As for the glittery stars, at least you’re not giving him candy. Maybe when he one day has a job, he can just keep stickers in his drawer and discreetly give one to himself every time he achieves something. 😉 Also, don’t worry, if the dollar store runs out, let me know because I have a couple of sheets leftover from my stint as a teaching assistant and can send them to you.

    • … okay, full disclosure, we also give him candies. Well, Feng does. I give him chocolate. Not for using the bathroom, though! 😆

      How do you manage to deal with your worries? Do you let go when you feel you have no control over the situation? Do “worry priorities” change over time for you or is it always (just an example) family first, then relationship, etc.? Is your SO a worrier too?

      • I thought I checked the box to receive an email when someone comments, but it didn’t seem to work this time! I won’t worry about it, though. 🙂

        To relieve stress I do things I enjoy and/or expend energy, like taking a walk, speaking with a friend, or doing a social or volunteer activity. Interacting with others can put my worries into perspective. The easiest worries to let go of are those that relate to myself, like career, because I have some element of control over them. The hardest ones are the ones I’m not sure how much I have influence over, like family, because then I don’t know where the line is between letting go and taking action.

        What SO? Lol. Maybe that’s why “relationship” is on the list. If I wanted to be more accurate I could have put “lack of” in front of some those categories. But again, since romantic relationships are something that only affect me directly, rather than family or friends, I don’t worry about it too much.

        • Ooops, sorry, I’ll see if I can this the technical issue.

          “SO”, as in “significant other” 😉 I like your philosophy, focusing on what you can control, with an emphasis on interacting with the world when you feel your own worries are getting too much. A+ for balance and a practical outlook on life!

          • I know, I don’t have an SO, that’s why I said “What SO?” and that I could have put “lack of” in front of some of those categories. I was trying to be funny and subtle, but you made me say it outright. I am open to suggestions of eligible bachelors.

          • Duh, I was being thick (involuntary!)

            Honestly, these days, I think my life would be 99% easier if I was single, so although I sympathize… I encourage you to make every minute of your freedom count! Do whatever you want, be free and enjoy. That’s a message from the other side of the fence 😉

  3. Martin Penwald on

    I see what you think, but there are a lot of worries I don’t have. No family in Canada, and my siblings and their partners all have good jobs, no house to maintain, no credit, no mortgage, no relationship, no risk to lose my job, even if it is slow for now. But knowing myself, I’ll certainly be far more worried than you if I were in your situation, because I would have to try to find people to work with. Brrrr …
    Moreoever, there are some periods when I worry more than other, it just happens. Sit and let it pass 🙂

    • You’re right, there are times when I’ more worried than usual, then I get busy or get some good news, a big project or whatever and then I move on.

      I don’t really look for people to work with, in fact, I have little contact with clients but by email. You would like this.

      In your job, where you presumably spend hours on your own, driving, doesn’t your mind go a bit crazy at times? What do you think about when you are on the road (well, except driving, obviously!)?

      • Martin Penwald on

        I don’t have too much to think, but I first take care of what I do, especially if I pull an oversized load. Planning the day, enjoying the ride. Yelling at the radio if an host or a guest say something stupid. Listening to music. Sometimes decomposing in prime numbers my mileage. Some stretches of road are boring, but habitually, I don’t mind driving wherever.
        By the way, I am not sure I’ve already written it somewhere, but I buy a truck last November (Yeeeeaaaahh!!!!!), so I have to take care of it too.

        • Congrats on the new baby. I should throw you a “truck shower”. What color, what brand, how big? And yes, picture needed because I feel that whatever features you will mention will be very abstract to me!

          When I travel and I spend hours in buses/planes/boats, etc. I let my mind wander as well and frankly, it’s very relaxing. I guess it takes some strength sometime though, because you can’t allow small things to bother you, you have to think positively.

          • Martin Penwald on

            It is a Volvo 730, white. It looks like the previous I drove (which was a Volvo 630), but the space in the cab is way bigger.

            It is a second hand truck because like I’ve already said, buying new now is a bad idea because of the CAD/USD exchange rate. So, it is not spec’ed exactely like I wanted, but relatively close. For example, I wouldn’t have taken the 16L 550hp engine, it is a little bit too heavy, and fuel consumption is not the best. But it pulls well, especially for heavy loads like the one in the picture.
            I like how I sit in this truck, and the size of the cab, but it is not a good-looking truck. I hope I could buy a new one next year, correctly spec’ed, but it is not done yet.

          • Meh, looks are overrated anyway. Better have something you’re comfortable with! … this is of course from someone who wouldn’t know how to drive a truck. I like Volvo, though, strong brand, reliable, right?

            I remember you were talking about buying your own truck last year, it’s cool that you managed to. Silly question but… where did you buy it? Not an ad on Kijiji, I supposed? 🙂

          • Martin Penwald on

            No, I buy it at a Volvo dealership. The problem is that the 16L engine is not as reliable as the smaller 13L, and I had one big trouble on my first trip (turbo blown), but it was on warranty. Pfiou.
            However, it seems that some people buy on kijiji, but habitually older trucks.

            About look, it is true that if it was my only criteria, it is not a Volvo I’ll buy, but the two best looking truck I find are the classic Peterbilt 389, which has a very small cab (I won’t be happy in it) and the International Lonestar (the Harley Davidson edition is exceptional), but I don’t trust International as a brand.
            If you look at what companies take for really heavy work (like in oilfield or in forestry), it is either Kenworth or Western Star, both brands which have a good reputation of reliability. But this reputation come with a price.
            However, it looks that oil prices are up, so is the CAD/USD exchange rate. Maybe it would be better at the end of the year. Just have to budget that.

          • And what’s the price range for such trucks? Like, second hand versus top brands? This is one market I don’t know at all, I have no idea of the price.

          • Martin Penwald on

            Actually, a brand new truck with a big cab and well equipped (fridge, inverter, etc) cost between 180.000 and 200.000 CAD. The price of a second-hand truck depends of its age and its mileage. I got mine at 143.000 CAD (less than 2 years old, with 300.000 km), plus the specific equipment I had to add for the job (straps, chains, headache rack, boxes, etc) for around 10.000 CAD.

          • Holy shit! That’s much more than I would have guessed. Quite an investment. But I guess it’s your house…

          • Martin Penwald on

            Yeah, that’s the point, in fact. In July, it will be 6 years I stop renting for a room/home, so, I don’t pay any rent or mortgage since then, no utilities, no local taxes, which can cost cumulated around $1000/month. So, 6 years, with 12 monthes a year, 6x12x$1000=$72000 saved.
            Plus the fact that I don’t spend money (being shy and not very sociable help a lot on the matter), and I had steading jobs since 8 years, I was able to save around $1000 per month too, so, after 8 years, I saved around $170000.

          • Nice! And very rational too, fits your lifestyle. So… would you say you’re happy these days? Content? Hoping for something else?

          • Martin Penwald on

            Yes, when I was young being like that on the road behind the wheel of a truck and living in it was what I was playing.
            I am pretty happy with my life, the fact that I have very few responsabilities probably help.
            I’ll probably try to find another job soon (in the 18 coming monthes) because I don’t do often multi axles job (even if I only post pictures of it, because it is the only loads I take pictures of), but I like the people where I work. Moreover, it is slow everywhere, so, I’d like rather stay in a company where people know that I’m reliable and have good paying jobs thanks to seniority.

          • Do you feel the economy is slower over there?

            It’s… relaxing to talk to someone who is, all things considered, relatively happy in life and is achieving his goals 🙂

          • Martin Penwald on

            Yes, tar sand occupy a lot of companies and people in Alberta. And trucking companies, including mine, often have a lot of work for the oilfield. But the kind of job we do now has changed and is less oilfield related. Fortunately, the company doesn’t have trucks dedicated for oilfield, so, whatever flatbed work is doable.
            But rates are lower than before, and a few of owner/operators had trouble to pay their credits, and some left because the pay was too low. But it is the same almost everywhere else.

          • Yeah, I think I’m starting to feel the effects of a slower economy here too. It sucks. Not that I was a big fan of oil sands, though.

  4. “I don’t have the relentless optimism North Americans find in their breakfast cereals.” Haha I don’t either!
    And I think your worries are totally legitimate… A lot of us share similar worries and doubts. I find that usually if I give it a bit of time things turn out ok, or my mood improve and I can move on from worrying. Sorry, not very helpful!

  5. Juliette, I don’t often comment but I related so much to many of your posts. I worry also and I think everyone does at some level but the main difference is how we deal with it.
    After a pretty rough year last year (burnout) I try to be more in sync with my emotions and read the signs when I feel a big stress coming. Knowing yourself (and your weak spots) is a good help. And knowing what are your ways of venting is very helpful too. Meditation is a good tool for me.
    My worries are the same as yours (no B plan at work, am I fucking up my kids?, how to make sure we are still a couple after kids?, aging family and daily worries)
    In my case a lot of the stress is linked to guilt too (not feeling I do enough or good enough) but I work on that and try not to put to much toes sure on myself
    I also try to take my husbands point of view as much as I can as he always says “why worry for something you have no control over! We will deal with it if and when it happens” which is often true but I just have to remind myself very often!
    I guess all I wanted to say is you are not on your own in your worries!

    • I’m really sorry you’re worrying as well, especially to the point of burning out. I hope you can… take a deep breathe and realx? Let it go? Gee, I don’t know, but I hope you can find inner peace.

      It’s tough to balance everything, as cliché as it sounds. I did find that I spend way too much time worrying on stuff I have zero control over and may or may not happen. Like… I don’t know, the weather, other people’s choices, etc. And then if and when what I fear happens, it doesn’t happen the way I feared it would anyway. So much energy wasted worrying… But I can’t help it.

      Reading the signs of stress is a very interesting point. I never thought of it that way, but if I can tell I feel this way because I’m stressed out (or tired or whatever) maybe it won’t look so bad. Mmm… I need to think about it.

      Thank you for sharing and… big hug 🙂

      • Thanks, hugging right back! A therapist really helped me out and I now manage my stress on my own (but obviously with support from my loved ones). But it was good seeing a therapist for a few months. Talking about it is a good thing to not let things get out of control (even now). Analyzing the situation does help for me and helps me step back a bit instead of spiralling down (if you get what I mean).

        Like you say, it is reassuring knowing a lot of people feel the same way..

        • I wish I had talked to someone when I really wasn’t okay. I tried to. It turned out to be a frustrating experience, long waiting list for public counseling, no insurance coverage for private practice. Sigh.

          I’m glad it helped you, especially giving you coping skills. And yes, stepping back instead of falling into the spiral, it’s exactly that!!

  6. Yes, yes, and yes. I identify so much with this – perhaps we all do. But knowing that everyone has similar worries and fears doesn’t make them go away – or make them any less likely, in my mind! I’m right there with you.

    • In a way, knowing that so many of us worry about the same stuff does make me feel better. I’m not sadistic, it just shows that we are all in this together!

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