Fret Not

Fretting Is Exhausting

My high school chemistry teacher’s name was, no kidding, Mr. Faile. While a hilarious and exceptional teacher, he made the dreaded (for some) class even more daunting by posting a sign over the chalkboard that read, “Flunk Now and Avoid The Rush.”

For those born after 1980, a chalkboard was an ancient education device that doubled as a screeching torture machine.

That sign still sticks with me, and I’ve appropriated the message into other areas of my life – particularly as a caregiver. Accepting reality and not delaying the inevitable becomes a path of wisdom rather than a depressing conclusion. As caregivers, we place unreasonable demands on ourselves to achieve or alter things we cannot change.

Despite extensive striving and colossal anxiety, caregivers will inevitably “flunk” at changing most of what we worry about. Embracing that premise allows greater peace of mind today.

I passed high school chemistry (barely), but Mr. Faile’s most important lesson to me had nothing to do with formulas and equations. A simple sign meant in jest communicated a greater truth that still helps bleed off stress – a lifetime later.

Rest now and avoid the crash. We face challenges better when not exhausted by fretting.

“The pitcher has got only a ball. I've got a bat. So the percentage in weapons is in my favor and I let the fellow with the ball do the fretting.” – Hank Aaron


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