Don't worry, just do the laundry

The New Year is here. Doesn’t seem to have had the hype of years past. The eve of 2000 was a big celebration for a new millennium. 2001 was in the midst of a fairly good economy and seated in stability. The eve of 2002 became an opportunity to celebrate in the face of the terrors of Sept. 11.

2003? Well, it seems to have spun out of control before it even began. Usually I hear about parties, plans and goals. On-line, there have always been fun surveys about resolutions for a fresh start.

This year the surveys I found were not about goals, but about fears. One poll asked, “What is your top worry for 2003? War? Economy? Or terrorist attack?”

I have to admit, I have felt unsettled about what the New Year will hold. Budget cuts, insurance rate hikes, pending war are not just possibilities but are realities. I read the paper and watch the news. Worry seems the norm, and it’s easy to get caught up in –– so much so I’m worrying more about the chaos in my own home rather than taking care of it.

Recently, I saw a plaque that read, “Worry is just a misuse of imagination.”

Normally, I am not an advocate of resolutions. I figure, if it is something you really want to change, the actual date to get with it is not important. But this year is different. I do not like the ominous feeling that the year ahead is out of control. I am making it worse by using my imagination to think about all the negative possibilities. It’s at this point I realized if worry is a misuse of imagination, then planning changes is a productive use of it.

Therefore, planning out change (or resolutions) is the cure for worry. Maybe 2003 seems uncontrollable already, but that is the nature of every tomorrow. In order to gain the reigns of control, even in a small area of my life, I need to use my imagination for creative resolve.

A New Year’s resolution for 2003? You bet! I am going to start with something small and tangible. If I can gain control of one little thing, then maybe I will be able to start on a second one. Just one thing. Hmmm... As I stare at my pile of laundry and try to apply a little positive imagination…. I got it! I am going to fold the clothes from the dryer before they cool into a wrinkly mound.

If I pay attention to the dryer buzzer and act quickly, I will have less ironing to do. I will have more free time. With the laundry folded, I will be able to grab matched socks when I need them. That means that I am not going to be on a mad sock hunt when I am panicked to run out the door for work. That means I will not arrive at work so stressed, and then I will be in a better mood, and then I will have a better day.

Positively applied imagination! 2003 is looking brighter! Happy New Year!

Kerri Hofmann lives in Federal Way with her three children.

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