making mountains out of molehills

August 6, 2013 |  Category:   life



I’m pretty sure I could write a manual on how to freak out over nothing. You know, obsessing over that “thing” that could maybe possibly happen, but hasn’t. Apparently, the potential for disaster is too great a scenario for me to ignore; instead, I have a talent for playing out imaginary realities in my head. Within that manual would be a (big) chapter on how to annoy the hell out of your spouse while riding this out. Because you don’t want to be selfish and keep all the anxieties to yourself. No! You want to share the experience with others so they too can partake in some of the worrisome fun. Fortunately, Mark is the more level-headed, less emotional one of the two of us and won’t take part in any of this behavior. I’m pretty sure – no, I’m convinced – this is the main reason why we’re able to work together without killing each other, not to mention being together for 21 years. Did I say 21 years? Yeah.


I’m actually a lot less uptight and horrible to live with than I sound and I’m fairly mellow most of the time, but sometimes there is that one thing that gets under your skin that you start obsessing about until it grows into something bigger than it actually is. I can’t yet tell if either of the girls have inherited my talent for worrying. Miss C is most like me in temperament, but I actually think Mia might be the worry wart of the two. It’s interesting to think that these might be inherited traits from our parents. One thing I constantly get asked lately by one of the girls is what we’re doing on a certain day. It’s not just, “what are we doing tomorrow?”, but it’s also “what are we doing on the 18th?” Or “what are we doing 2 Mondays from now?” I just have to laugh at this because I remember my mom getting totally exasperated with me because I used to ask those same questions (I totally remember doing this too). She used to throw up her hands and respond incredulously like, “how do I know what we’re doing on that specific day 3 weeks from now??” Yeah, that’s pretty much my response to the kid too. What goes around comes around, I guess. All that childhood nagging to my mom is biting me in the ass.
*Photos from Lincoln Center. We tried to watch the Kronos Quartet and Asphalt Orchestra play the Pixies Surfer Rosa, but it was a rainy evening. The four of us huddled in our wet chairs with our umbrellas for a while trying to stick it out, but had to give up. Too bad. Heard it was amazing.

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  • Paige Davidson August 6, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    It is comforting to know there are others in the world like me.

  • Desiree August 7, 2013 at 4:17 am

    I know exactly what you mean by worrying about things that then grow bigger and bigger. I think I inherited that from my parents as well. My husband sounds like he is just like Mark, the more cool and levelheaded person. He seldom understands my worries. I just want to say you are not alone on this one and I so understand what you mean.
    Take Care.

  • Tosh August 7, 2013 at 7:32 am

    This post is so me.

  • Liz Rose Bowman August 7, 2013 at 10:21 am

    I’m sure my mom is just waiting for me to have a child in a similar vein. I’m the suuuuper laid back one in my marriage and my husboy used to be incredibly high strung, worrying and planning like Fiver from Watership Down, but the last few years he’s really chilled out, I guess I’ve rubbed off on him.

    • Jenna August 7, 2013 at 10:25 am

      you know what’s interesting Liz? Mark is the super chilled out one, but in a lot of ways, he is the more strict parent and the one who is more the stickler for routines. I don’t think either of us expected that! All this to say, you just never know what kind of parent you are until you become one, I guess.

  • Sophia August 7, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Oh man…worry is my first middle and last name. And I know that I got this trait from my parents because my siblings are the same. My husband made a comment once that nobody can have fun when they were around me and my sisters because we were too busy worrying about something. Unfortunately there’s some truth to that.
    In all seriousness, it can be crippling and it’s something that I try to change, but sometimes I think it’s so ingrained I just throw my hands up in the air.

    • Jenna August 7, 2013 at 2:50 pm

      My parents are not worriers like my brother and I. I don’t know where we get it from!

  • Jennifer August 7, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    My mom always said, “don’t trouble trouble before trouble troubles you.” 🙂

    • Jenna August 7, 2013 at 2:51 pm

      Yes, that is very good.

    • Sophia August 8, 2013 at 2:07 pm

      I’m going to remember that’s good!

  • Abby August 7, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    I’m a big worrier, but have learned to recognize it and laugh at it, which is key to letting some of it go. I’ve also recognized that I’ll never let it all go, and that, disturbingly, I find some safety in it, like if I worry about something, maybe it won’t happen. Which is pretty dumb, because if I could affect the outcome of something, it won’t be by worrying about it.

    My spouse is laid-back, which I sometimes take to mean that he doesn’t worry enough (another thing for me to worry about! <– see, that's the thought I tell myself that leads to me laughing at my ridiculousness). We work on each other, because I do think that there are some things that he needs to remember to think about in advance, but what he has done for me that's helpful is given it a term, "the downward spiral." If I start down the path, he says, "You're spiraling. Yes, that could happen. But the world could end tomorrow! An earthquake could topple LA completely!" His silly faux-dramatic tone usually gets me giggling by that point.

    The one other thing that's helpful is being a sports fan. It sounds silly to anyone who's not a fan, but you've mentioned being a Knicks fan, right? It's a great exercise for me, who equates worrying with control of a situation, to feel that complete helplessness of caring about something and realizing that you can do nothing to affect it AT ALL.

    • Jenna August 7, 2013 at 2:53 pm

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment. Yeah, I am the worst basketball fan because I get so stressed out watching games! Stressed tot he point where I sometimes rather know the outcome and then just watch it later. Same with tennis when I used to watch a lot of tennis. There’s this funny story during the 1999 playoffs when the knicks went to the finals. This was before DVR (which we still don’t have, actually) or youtube or any instant video. But the game was so stressful at one point that I hid in the bathroom and totally missed out on this crazy 4 point play that put the knicks ahead. Everyone was talking about it and I missed it, haha!

      • Abby August 7, 2013 at 3:37 pm

        I hear ya — I’m a USC football fan, and the most daunting thing can be the expectations, especially from those fans who can’t let go of when we were champions almost 10 years ago. I remember when we lost a game in Sept 2008, and I truly felt like the world was ending. That was one time when I knew in the moment that I was being silly, but it didn’t make me feel a whit better. The only thing that did make me feel better was (and omg, this is insane) saying, “Well, if this terrible thing happened, that means that Obama will win the election. To balance it out.”

        For some reason, this inane and totally bonkers statement made me feel better. Especially on Nov 5.

    • Sophia August 8, 2013 at 2:23 pm

      This is weird how I’m fascinated and naturally somewhat worried about my worry behavior! I can relate to so many things from thinking that my spouse or others who don’t worry as much as I do..that they should be as worried as me or watching sports and sometimes hiding or wanting to know the results so I don’t have to endure that worry feeling! And I’m not even a die hard sports fan!?!
      I’m grateful that my husband is not like cause it keeps me in check and also because we have a kid.

  • Lisa August 7, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Those photos are gorgeous!

  • Jocy August 7, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    I worry all the time. I have memories of me worrying as a kid! And these days, it just grow and grow in my head until my husband, who is so balanced and level-headed gets me to stop my negative thinking. It can be crippling sometimes.

  • RebeccaNYC August 7, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    oh, “freakout” is my middle name. I think I keep everything calm and cool on the outside, but inside I am FREAKING OUT! sheesh.

    btw….love seeing my stomping grounds on your blog. I always get excited when I see the Met, even though I have sung here for 15 years…I still get that pit of the stomach feeling when I see it….sorry you got rained out from Kronos. I hear it was great.

  • Kim August 8, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    Jenna – To conquer my anxiety I repeat this in my head…

    If you live in the past you will be depressed
    If you live in the future you will be anxious
    if you live in the present you will be happy

    I know it is very simple but it works for me.

  • Jordan S August 15, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    My gf and I are actually moving to the Lincoln Center area, and she’s been having lots of mini-freakouts about pretty unfeasible things. Jenna, as ever, your impeccable timeliness creeps me out :p Thanks for taking the lovely photos! They were a great help in getting her to loosen up and be positive 🙂

    • Jenna August 15, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      Ha, I love that. “impeccable timeliness creeps me out”. Good luck on the move Jordon! Good things…all good things.

  • Flammableskin August 16, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    The second picture of the Lincoln Center is beautiful, and I have seen many. You capture the dwarfing proportion of its anti-human stature with such disturbing intimacy…how do you do that?!

    • Jenna August 16, 2013 at 4:52 pm

      that’s such an imposing wall, isn’t it? These photos were taken with my phone…so I don’t know??