Back in April, Bruce and his horse-neighbour Winston broke their dividing fence, and hoolied around the field like a couple of youngsters. Things sobered up when Bruce got kicked on his hock, and I found him standing by the gate looking very sorry for himself.
The joint swelled and subsided, puffy became the new normal, and Bruce walked a tad stiffly but appeared unconcerned. Last week his displeasure at being out in the wind and rain erupted in an awesome acrobatic display, cantering back and forth with sliding stops and handbrake turns. Then he suddenly found he couldn’t put his hind leg to the ground, and what had been a ligament strain got a whole lot worse.
I’ve spent a week of worry on auto-pilot. The torn ligament, mega-swelling, and Bruce’s age, were all cause for concern and I was reluctant to have the joint drained because of possible infection, and the high likelihood of the fluid returning. I’m realistic about movement-limiting injuries and euthanasia, but Bruce is as much part of me as my own arm or leg, and I don’t know how I’d manage without one of them either.
Last night Bruce laid down in his stable for the first time, but more importantly he managed to get back up. He turned the corner to recovery and I breathed again.
Today is Thursday. I got up early to write my blog and sat with tea and toast wondering what to write. Then it occurred to me. How often do we actually worry about what we’re worried about?
I’ll let those words sit for a moment because they surprised me too.
At the moment we’re all worried about Covid, and that worry has given the green light for all other worries to become important. We’re on permanent alert lest a stranger sneezes, and making sense of government guidance (I use the word ironically) is like doing a cryptic crossword in Ancient Urdu. A lot of people met their own mortality for the first time, and even though they didn’t shake hands it wasn’t an amiable introduction.
Worrying about things out of our control makes us feel stressed, but stress has become such a dirty word it’ll soon be unmentionable. It’s overtaken smoking, eating or sitting down as something you Must Not Do, and soon we’ll have a government minister in charge of it. But without stress I think we’d probably crumple; just like tension on a high-wire, stress counter-balances all the blah emotions. If only life could be one long scented bath, but in order to get more hot water we have to get out some time and stoke the boiler.
Are we ignoring the real worry and worrying that we can’t control the outcome, which is change. Change is a ‘C’ word more graphic than the anatomical one we don’t say unless in the company of our sluttiest girlfriends. Change means facing up to fears of the unknown, and the unknown is the nemesis of mankind.
So, if the unknown is too immense to think about, we find something smaller on which to pin our fret, because worrying about something tangible is more controllable. We rant about things like chocolate bars getting smaller, or beat ourselves up for hugging a friend. We worry about our horses/dogs/cats eating properly, when really we’re wondering who will look after them if we can’t, and we worry about our sore knee when we’re wondering who will look after us if we can’t. Or our partner. Or both of us at the same time.
So let’s make time for small worries. Let’s recognise them as big worries in drag, trying their best to put some glitz into pathos. Let’s accept them, acknowledge them, and at three o’clock in the morning, try to let them go. We can’t change change because it’ll happen whatever. But we can cut ourselves some slack, eat two chocolate bars instead of one, and make the best of what we have in front of us because sooner or later that will change too. And that’ll be a whole new load of stuff to worry about.
The blog is short rambling and random this week with not much editing. Normal service will resume asap. Blame Bruce? Never.