My Inner Child?

“Worrying is using your imagination to create something you don’t want.”

Abraham Hicks

I got my new library card this week! I haven’t had a library card since 2005…

I also got my hair professionally cut for the first time since COVID showed up and hair salons were closed down – in March, 2020! Of course, cancer was in the mix, too, and I had no hair to cut for months. But still, it was one of those Big Victories against the fear that has been the pandemic.

Little victories. We’ve all needed them more than ever these past many months. I almost chickened out, though.

Here I am – 80 years of life behind me – and I can still sabotage myself out of hours of serenity by grinding my teeth over small things. Like finding parking spaces and finding a library. I know, I know. What the heck?!

I can explain.


I don’t know when it began, but I do know that I have long been geographically challenged (GC). If I am faced with deciding whether to turn left or right at an unfamiliar intersection, I will always choose the wrong way. Always.

My city’s downtown has been undergoing massive construction over the past year and a half. Streets have been blocked off willy nilly so you can never be sure if your intended route will even be open today. That becomes a major challenge for those of us who are GC’s. We do not adapt quickly. We get lost easily. Very easily.

This is very hard on our self-esteem.

I had thought for some time about needing to get my now-curly, post-cancer hair a professional cut. But there were obstacles that held me back from sitting down and making the appointment.

My beauty salon is downtown in a hotel. The hotel’s ramp makes everything easy, until it’s not…until it’s full. I have to park several blocks away then, raising the specter of blocked streets and downtown traffic. And being lost. And being late.

I could use the massive pedestrian subway system, which I have walked dozens of times for Mayo appointments, but I couldn’t picture how I’d get from an unfamiliar ramp to the salon to save my soul. I worked diligently to imagine it all, to no avail.

My mind was on overdrive for weeks. I kept putting off making the appointment. My hair was looking stranger and stranger.

On Tuesday, I ginned up my courage and made my hair appointment for the next day. My salon was still in business!!

Once it was made, I realized that as long as I would be downtown, I could be really smart and go to the library and get a library card so that I can access e-books. I have no more room for the hold-in-your-hands comfort of reading live books, but I am so ready to read voraciously again.

But if road blocks were downtown and in my way, how would I find my way there? Where is another ramp that’s nearby? What if? What if? What if?


In Real Life, I left home bathed in unexpected calm and clarity. The best parking ramp was not full, and I found the ideal parking space!

As I left the ramp with my spiffy new post-cancer hairdo, I briefly thought, “You don’t have to go to the library today.” I knew immediately that if I didn’t do it right now, I wouldn’t do it for months. I kept going. Still calm.

The main drag through downtown was not blocked off after all, and I took a smart guess about where the library was. The cold wind blew me in there, I knew how to use the digital registration computer, and I walked out with a brand new teal library card that has the saying, “Anything is possible” on the front.

Indeed.

I had spent hours – weeks even, worrying about something I didn’t want to happen. About something that was not a problem in the end. Even 5 years ago, this would not have been such a problem. Now I know that it does not need to be one at 80, either.

Lesson learned.

I hope.

20 thoughts on “My Inner Child?

  1. Isn’t it funny how the things we worry about usually turn out to be no problem at all? And sadly, it’s the stuff we never saw coming that causes us the most heartache….. But good for you for overcoming your fear and getting your haircut and finding the library! Just goes to show we can always learn to be brave, one day at a time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I rather hope that the pretty inconsequential “problems” that I’d created for myself will finally remind me that the little ones can be wrapped up and put away. Then there’s hopefully more energy and resilience for the ones that blindside me, that really matter. We keep learning, don’t we?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think that is an excellent plan. If we use all our energy “sweating the small stuff” then we really don’t have the emotional or even the physical stamina to deal with the bigger issues that come our way. Here’s hoping that the future brings you many, many good things!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. From “the other Martha’s” mother. I have followed your journey and regret not sending best wishes to you. This message hit home with me. The “other Martha” has a similar problem with locating the final destination. Thank goodness for her technological assistance which has delivered me to multiple Dr appointments and other necessary events during my recovery. It would be so wonderful to GPS our way to meet you one day. So happy you are making progress. I am also. Ellen Van Buren in Potomac Falls, Virginia.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ellen, there is no longer need to identify yourself – you are your own dear person now, and I love you as much as I love your daughter! Wouldn’t it be lovely to meet face to face some day? In the meantime, I have been wondering how your recovery has been going, so I’m glad to know that you’re making progress. I’m finding myself less anxious about reaching some mythical “end point” and enjoying every sign of progress that shows up in my own recovery. Life is still wonderful, if different from a year ago. And having friends like you out there is part of the joy of the present and the hope of the future. Very best wishes for your continued improvements and for a future blessed with good things!

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  3. Wonderful! Yes! “Anything is possible”. We all spend so much time worrying about things that might never happen…Glad you got your hair cut in these crazy times…and the wonder of books, “Oh my”. There is still nothing like an actual book you get to hold in your hands and read!.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Linda! I just finished my first e-book, inhaling it in less than 24 hours! Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, “Wild” kept me entranced, even though a tap on the screen replaced the physical turning of a page. I’m grateful that I can have access now, at least. I shall miss underlining and “stars” and my own commentary in the margins, of course…And having overcome my sabotage, I’m hoping that worrying will be at least a bit easier to overcome in the future.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That this post made you happy is reason enough to have done it, Bernadette! I shake my head when I realize how easy it is for my own ageism to take me down! Thanks for the reminder that if I’m not watchful, it can too easily become a daily experience.

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    1. You are so right, Liz! And thank goodness. Put enough small ones together, and we just might bump up against a Big one!! As for hair cuts, yours will arrive at the right time. Meanwhile, you have your wonderful writing which is much more important!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Very good point, Martha! In the grand scheme of things, my writing is much more important than than my hair. (And I could always wear a hat.)

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  4. Oh yes, so relatable! I also have spent many hours stressing over a future excursion only for it to go smoothly in real life. Or get anxiety procrastinating a to-do list for ages, only for it to be be a painless quick task.
    Thank you for sharing. ♡

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I would love to overcome that kind of stress, but even if I can shorten the time, I’ll consider myself at least modestly victorious! Good to know I have company!

      Like

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