A case of the . . .

You’ve heard the phrase, “…a case of the Mondays”, right? That sense of dread that the weekend is over, that grumpy feeling you get on Monday morning when the work week begins.

I’ve had a chronic case of the Mondays for years. Sunday night would roll around, and I’d find myself dreading the end of the weekend, but even more so, I’d dread the beginning of another week. There were times that I would lie awake in bed, mentally flipping through the days ahead, compiling my worries. Usually – in hindsight – my worries were trifles, but of course at the time, they kept me awake.

I wish I could tell you that I wasn’t always like that, but I was. Even in elementary school, I can remember being anxious. I have a distinct memory of spending the night at my Grandma’s – I couldn’t have been more than six – and being unable to sleep. Grandma sat on the side of the bed and asked me what was wrong. The only way I could describe what I was feeling was a “tummy ache”. The next morning I had a swimming lesson. My class was learning something called “the dead man’s float”; you float facedown in the water for several seconds. I know now that my little six-year-old self was consumed with dread about that poorly named “dead man’s float” – and that the dread reared its ugly head as a tummy ache. (In my defense, who puts the words “dead man” in a child’s swimming class? C’mon now.)

It’s funny to remember that night now and to realize that I’ve always been an anxious sort. You mix together a couple factors – “first child syndrome”, type A personality, perfectionist – and you get the always-striving-to-be-better worrywart that is me. Not surprisingly, I still get that anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach more than 20 years later. Luckily, as I’ve grown, I have learned to recognize it and deal with it. I’ve become better and better at seeing my worries for what they are – largely useless. Now when I find myself feeling anxious, I take a minute to think through what’s bothering me, and then I either let it go, or I figure out a way to make it better. My “case of the Mondays” is still around; it’s just not as persistent as it used to be.

I was getting ready for bed tonight… you know, the usual routine. I tucked Vivian into her crib, tidied up the house, took a shower, and kissed Brad goodnight. Then it hit me. Something was missing . . . no case of the Mondays! In fact, ever since I’ve been a stay-at-home mom, my anxiety levels have really dropped. Sure, I do worry about Vivi on occasion – what parent doesn’t worry about their child? What’s missing is the worry over silly little things… worrying about whether an email I sent offended a co-worker, if I was ready for a presentation, if I’d pass a test, if I’d sink or swim.

I don’t dread anymore. I go to bed happy, and I wake up happy. That might not be remarkable for everyone, but for someone who has always considered worry to be a regular bedmate, it’s a whole new world.

I thought to myself tonight, what’s different? I think for me, I’m finally doing what I love. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed other things – being a student, working in the marketing industry – but I never felt satisfied. I always felt like I was reaching for the proverbial carrot. I don’t feel that way anymore. I feel peaceful; I feel joyful.

More than ever before, I’m thankful for every moment.