Sorry I’m Not Stressed Over Whatever You’re Freaking Out About

I may be too mellow for some people. I get that. It’s weird to write because for a good portion of my life, I was the opposite.

Then I had heart surgery…and a non-verbal son……and a family estrangement…and a divorce…and, well, you get the point. Life happens as you get older and, before you know it, you start to survive worst-case scenarios.  You realize that very real worries can become even realer realities and, amazingly, you can overcome them.

Suddenly, things like people losing their minds over being ten minutes late to a baseball game or what the woman in accounting said about their sweater don’t mean much. Even things that seem major aren’t.

I had this conversation with a boss many years ago. She was the same one who sniffled up at the mere thought of my special needs child. At the time of my hire, I told her that I get things done and don’t show stress as I do. To me, the only way to finish a task is to keep a clear mind. If she expected me to put on a show of frazzled energy, that wasn’t going to happen.


People appreciate that approach when they learn of it initially. They accept it and, in many cases, tell me that they feel the same way. In this case, and many like it, that is proved false the moment you see them in action. This woman was no different.

Her sister, the office manager, made us keep vital incoming business information from her because she feared, “Carol would have a heart attack if she knew.” It was as if I was working for the model behind the movie “Boss Baby.” 

Despite knowing my approach, people will still try to put the pressure on at times, hoping I will feel the same nervous tension they do. That’s what she did one day when going over the website and the pricing behind the packages we were offering. 

These prices are all right? They better be right because when we unveil them next month, if they’re wrong…I’m going to be like FY-ER!

She put her hands up to her face like Madeline Kahn in Clue and waved her fingers in a pantomime of flames. She looked me dead in the eyes. We were the only two in the office.

And I laughed in her face. Not a chuckle either. I lost it. In my defense, it was freakin’ hilarious.

I swear this is a completely true story. I couldn’t help it. I didn’t laugh to be mean or rude. It just came out. Her dumbfounded expression on her dumb founder face still lives in my brain to this day. The meeting ended with a confused, “OK then. Thanks.”

Of course, I knew I had one leg out the door and when the “fy-re” would potentially spread, I would be long gone. But still, that wasn’t why I was so dismissive of her nonsense. I knew none of it was real. I knew that her stress was created because, at some point in her life, she watched other people act like that. No one ever told her to grow up and enjoy the fruits of her labor. To her, that’s what work was.

Were the prices wrong? Maybe, but probably not. I don’t know. I left before then and, six years later, she called me up and asked me to return despite my sudden resignation a month after that awkward Clue meeting. I declined that offer. It felt fantastic and showed me that those prices weren’t as important as we thought. Very rarely does fire look to rehire, yet there we were.

I always say that more people on Earth need near-death experiences to wake them up. Knowing that I was oblivious to the fact that I was a few years away from dying in 2012 shook me. I would have spent my final years grumbling about trash day and worrying about car inspections. I’d fight with fools and argue with agitators. My life, as a whole, would be wasted.

need love

The same thing happened when my son was diagnosed with autism and I learned he might never speak. I told myself it was the most terrible thing that could ever happen. I prayed that he would say a word by three years old…then four…then five. To think that he would be over a decade old and still never utter a purposeful word felt like a death sentence.

Yet, again, here we are. He doesn’t have verbal language and we’re OK. In fact, we’re perfect. Apply that same thought to divorce, cutting family members from my life, losing friends at a young age, and you get the idea.

So, forgive me. It’s not that I don’t care about what you’re worried about. I’m just not losing my marbles over it. Call me up in a panic. Send me all caps text messages. Share memes about how the country is crumbling and there are secret groups plotting our downfall. It all sounds so frustrating and chilling. My rebuilt heart goes out to you.

You can go ahead and handle that. I might even help a bit, if you need. But I save my worries for things worth worrying about. There just doesn’t seem to be too much out there that fits that bill nowadays. Take a walk. Smell the roses. Have a Fesca, huh? Life is too short for pointless fire.