After a while, most marriages somehow informally work out a rough division of chores. In my marriage to Raquel, some things are worked out and some aren't. But two chores seem to have found their own level. In our marriage, I do about 75 percent of the yard work and 25 percent of the worrying. Raquel picks up the other 25 percent and 75 percent. This formula isn't chiseled in stone -- it just seems to have evolved.
On Father's Day a few years ago, my kids gave me a t-shirt showing a glass with liquid at about the 50 percent level. Is it half empty or half full? Mine says "HALF FULL" which, I think, was a message to me that I'm not doing my fair share of the worrying with their mother -- sort of a charge of emotional non-support. I'm afraid I have to admit I'm not as good at it as she is, but maybe with practice...
There seems to be lots to worry about these days for both heavy worriers and light worriers -- people losing jobs, people losing homes, swine flu, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, nuclear weapons in Pakistan (and probably being developed in Iran and North Korea), college graduates with no jobs, the economy in the tank, your reduced retirement reserves, Social Security in the red, the high cost of health care, hungry children around the world (including the U.S.), cancer, heart disease, diabetes, on and on -- even pirates.
I read of an interview the other day in which the person they interviewed was passing his "worry beads" through his fingers during the interview. I didn't know anything about worry beads, so I did a little checking. Generally speaking, worry beads resemble prayer beads, but unlike prayer beads they have no religious significance. They're merely "instruments of relaxation and stress management." Apparently, worry beads have their origin from Greek Orthodox monks. The Greeks call the beads Komboloi, and prefer beads made of amber and coral, strung in multiples of four on strands two palm widths long.
The Greeks claim their worry beads have had them relieving stress and bad habits for centuries. As they say, stress and anxiety "can cause headaches, various illnesses, high blood pressure, and in the most unfortunate cases, death." Use them to quit smoking or stop your over-eating problem. Feel their health-enhancing energy. This is what the ads say. I checked one of their websites and found beads made of porcelain, ram's horn, Mediterranean beach glass and ivory. They came in necklaces, bracelets, key chains and wall hangings. They're very attractive and can be yours for $6.75 to $32.50. They come from a bead factory in Greece but you order them from New York.
But with jobs at a premium, what kind of dope would go to an interview fondling worry beads? They're also called "fidget beads" you know. You'd be better off biting your fingernails or cracking your knuckles.
Here's the bottom line. Some years ago, the University of Michigan did a study on worry and they came up with some interesting conclusions:
60 percent of our worries are unwarranted
30 percent of our worries have already occurred
10 percent are petty
of the remaining 10 percent, only 4 to 5 percent are real and justifiable
and of that 4 to 5 percent, only half of them are solvable
Which means that 98 percent of what we worry about is a complete waste of time.
What it all comes down to is that the glass is more than half full. It's nearly filled to the brim. Get yourself a "DON'T WORRY" t-shirt (in a dark color so you won't have to worry about it showing dirt) and worry only 2 percent of the time. Don't worry, be happy.