Over the years I’ve done some really good worrying. I bloody love a worry; whether it’s worrying about where to sit in assembly so I don’t fall over when I have to go up on stage and collect my Grade 4 violin certificate, or worrying about whether I’ll ever get a mortgage. I worry about everything. Always.
I can’t make a decision without having at least 15 spacks and writing a few hundred lists first. I have to know I have dealt with every possible outcome – including the one that ends in the nuclear apocalypse – before I feel I can make an informed choice. It’s just how I am.
I’m sure my therapist would try and tell me it’s linked with my anxiety disorder, but I choose not to listen to him. For a change.
And so, of course, when it’s come to the actually Big Decisions in life, I’ve done some championship-standard worrying. First it was what GCSEs to do, then what A Levels. Then what uni course, and where to do it. Then which MA. Which modules. What title to give my essay. Where to live. Whether or not I should buy a house. These were VITALLY IMPORTANT decisions that could completely alter the course of my entire life. They required a much higher level of worry than normal.
And when I was doing my MA, I started having a really good worry about finding a job. I was looking at grad schemes, and general jobs, and stuff in the careers centre, and I was doing a very good freakout. I was expecting it to last at least until I graduated, and I was kind of looking forward to it. Because a good worry is actually really satisfying.
But it didn’t last that long. Because what I wasn’t expecting was what actually happened; that I’d make what turned out to be the single most important decision of my early career without thinking about it at all.
It happened like this; I had put in an application for a marketing scheme with a rather large company mostly so that when my Dad asked if I’d done anything on the job hunt yet I could say yes. I’d done a couple of bits for the early selection rounds – and online test, and maybe a phone interview. And then I hadn’t given it that much more thought, because I was too busy worrying about everything else.
And then one Tuesday morning, my phone rang. I was hungover, and I’d lost my car keys, and I was late for a seminar, and I needed to get out of the front door and into my car and onto campus. I answered the phone to shut it up (I feel guilty about hanging up on people without even speaking to them first) and then tried to get the other person off the line as soon as I could.
And the easiest way to do that was to say yes, I was happy to be transferred from the marketing scheme to the business management one. That was fine. They could email me the details. Great.
If I’d actually stopped to think/worry about it, I probably wouldn’t have done that. I would’ve gone all “I want to be in comms and marketing”, and I would’ve said no. And so I would’ve had a different job. And lived in different flats, because I wouldn’t have met my old flatmate. And I wouldn’t have my Farthing Wood Friend, because we wouldn’t have worked at the same company. I probably wouldn’t have actually ended up in comms and marketing, because I would’ve got disheartened and panicked and worried and quit. And I definitely wouldn’t have had free broadband.
So it seems all that worrying was entirely pointless and also probably a little bit counterproductive after all. But I’ll still do it. Just because I can.