Last year’s worries

What were you worrying about this time last year? I can tell you precisely.

According to my calendar, April 18 (the day I started writing this) fell on a Sunday in 2021 and I went on a group hike around some lakes in Minneapolis.

While I only faintly remember the hike, I know for sure that I was wearing a backpack of about 20 pounds. And that I was very concerned about my blood pressure. Not that I would have a stroke or heart attack, but that my blood pressure reading might keep me from completing a long planned-for adventure with my grandson - backpacking the Philmont Boy Scout Ranch in New Mexico.

The Scouts have lots of rules for “high adventure” excursions. I had to get a physical. I completed Wilderness First Aid training. I took the Youth Protection Training course. But my biggest concern was knowing that after arriving in Philmont and before beginning the 60 mile backpacking trip, all adults had to submit to a blood pressure check. And my blood pressure runs high - especially when I am getting it checked. (White Coat Hypertension - it’s a real thing.)

So my worry was that after years of anticipation, months of training, hours of classes, and days of travel, I would find myself stuck at the basecamp while the rest of my crew headed into the Sangre de Christo mountains without me. What made matters worse was it seemed there would be no second chance to be retested. The check was made just a couple hours before the hike began.

I expressed my concern to our guide who worked at the camp and asked if I could not be given my BP check the day we arrived so if I failed, I could try again the next morning. The young man simply looked at me, winked, and said, “Nobody fails the blood pressure test.” 

And I didn’t. I got my blood pressure checked. I have absolutely no clue what those two little numbers were. Literally months of worry were for naught. I seemed to struggle no more or less than the other adults hiking. I don’t think I embarrassed my grandson too horribly.

I often try to adjust my thinking about a problem by asking myself if I will still be worrying about it a year from now. My biggest concern right now is a leaking sink in my bathroom. I’m not stewing about it too much since I rather doubt it will still be leaking this time next year. Even given my plumbing skills.

Are there things worth worrying about? My health, for sure. I am sure I will still be trying to keep my weight down this time next year. The happiness of my friends and family. Issues of local importance in which I can provide an active solution by volunteering. I am not particularly worried about Ukraine, COVID, supply chains, gun violence, divisive politics, etc. I try to stay informed but I also recognize my personal influence over these matters is miniscule.

What do you find worth worrying about?