Why I've Stopped Dwelling On What-Ifs

Why I've Stopped Dwelling On What-Ifs

It's time to take your mom's advice.
26
views

Wednesday afternoon, I started the long trek up to New York from Tallahassee, Florida. We planned to make the drive in two days: the first day we would stop in Knoxville, and then we’d drive the next day all the way to Buffalo. As often is the case, things did not go as planned: after enjoying a nice sit-down dinner in a small town in Georgia, we walked into the parking lot and realized our rental car had been broken into.

The passenger door window was smashed; there was glass all over the carseat, the middle console, and the pavement. We immediately called the police and got the attention of the manager of the restaurant. I barely noticed all of this, though, because I was so astonished that it had actually happened to me. I’ve been privileged to live my whole life so far without a single significant breach in my safety. I’d never felt so suddenly vulnerable to all sorts of dangers like I did in the half hour following the incident.

In the end, we found out that the only things missing from the car was a Michael Kors bag and my boyfriend’s mema’s work laptop. Of course it was horrible that these things were taken, but we realized we were also quite fortunate: our Dodge Grand Caravan was chock-full of not only monetary valuables, like my guitar, our game systems, and other laptops, but also emotional valuables that could’ve been damaged or lost.

For the rest of the night, I was driven wild by what-ifs: what if more had been taken? What if Mema had gone to get her drink from the car like she said she wanted to? Would she have walked right in on the robbery? What if we had parked somewhere else? What if we had kept driving through and not stopped in that town? Was there a way this could have been prevented? What if it happened again?

I had a dream that night in the hotel that the rest of our luggage sunk through the floorboards of the rental car like sinking sand. I woke up feeling similar: like I was slowly drowning in my thoughts of other scenarios, other what-ifs.

When we parked the car to get lunch the next day, we made jokes about how we’d park it right in front where we could see it from the restaurant windows. Even though we were being light-hearted, there was certainly a semblance of truth behind our joking. We were all still shaken up about it.

It wasn’t until we stopped again for dinner that it hit me: I had to stop worrying about the what-ifs. I had to stop worrying about what we could have done differently, because it didn’t matter: it had happened. And I also had to stop worrying about whether it would happen again, because I had no control over that. When it comes down to it, we really don’t have any control over a lot of things.

With this new mantra in mind, I was able to shake off most of my fear and keep moving forward. I brought this attitude with me to my first days on campus. It came in handy yesterday at my oboe placement audition, where, instead of worrying about how everyone was going to be way better than me, I focused on what I could control: my own performance.

I used to think that dwelling on what-ifs helped me to process the things that happened in my life, but what the break-in taught me was that it really just keeps you from moving forward. Obviously this will be an ongoing process — if it were easy to stop, no one would have a problem worrying about what-ifs — but until the fear is totally gone, I’m focusing on what I can control: locking my car, hiding my valuables, and parking in a well-lit area. Because when it comes down to it, focusing on what we can control is the only thing, and the best thing, that we can do.

Cover Image Credit: Beth Harrison

Popular Right Now

Dear Mom, From Your Daughter In College

Here are all the things our phone calls aren't long enough to say.
136765
views

Dear Mom,

Do you remember when I was three and we would play together? It was the age of princesses and carpet that was actually lava, and you were the prettiest woman in the whole wide world. Do you remember when I was in high school and the world seemed too big and scary? You would know exactly when to take me on a mother-daughter date and have me laughing about anything and everything, and you were the smartest woman in the whole wide world. Now, I'm buried in homework and deadlines hours away from you and we don't get to talk as much you want, but you're still the prettiest, smartest woman in the whole wide world.

I'm sorry that I don't call you as much as I should, and you know a lot of what goes on in my world via posts and pictures. Our schedules just seem to never line up so we can have the three-hour conversations about everything like I want to. I know we don't agree on absolutely everything, but I cherish every piece of advice you give me, even though it probably seems like I'm hardly listening. I know that sometimes we get on each other's nerves, but thank you for putting up with me for all of these years. Thank you for listening to me cry, complain, question things and go on and on about how everything in college is. I know I don't come home as much as I used to, but I think about you all the time. After all, you're my first friend, and therefore, my best friend.

Thank you for celebrating my successes with me, and not downing me too hard for my failures. Thank you for knowing what mistakes I shouldn't make, but letting me make them anyway because you want me to live my life and be my own person. Thank you for knowing when to ask about the boy I've been talking about, and when to stop without any questions. Thank you for letting me be my crazy, weird, sometimes know-it-all self.

Thank you for sitting back and watching me spread my wings and fly. There is no way I could have known how to grow into the woman I am today if I hadn't watched you while I was growing up so I would know what kind of person I should aspire to be. Thank you for being the first (and the best) role model I ever had. You continue to inspire and amaze me every day with all that you do, and all that you are.

I don't know how I got so lucky to have a person in my life like you, but I thank the Lord every night for blessing me with the smartest, prettiest person to be my best friend, my role model, my confidant, my person and most importantly, my mother.

Love,

Your daughter

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Thank You, Odyssey, For Giving Me A Place I Belong

You were the thing I never knew I needed.

90
views

When I was asked if I wanted to write on Odyssey, I was skeptical. I had no idea what it was. I maybe had read two or three articles that I saw on Facebook but besides that, I had no exposure to it.

I didn't understand what Odyssey was. I was told it was a place where people from all over could write about whatever they wanted.

To me, that sounded amazing. I could freely write about any and everything.

Since joining Odyssey I have found something within myself that I never knew I had.

I didn't ever think that I would enjoy writing as much as I do now.

Writing for Odyssey makes me happy because I know that no matter what someone will read what I write. You're guaranteed at least one reader, and sometimes that's all you need. One person, one view, one soul to care about something that you are passionate enough to write about.

It's more than just writing a weekly article, I am now in a family. My fellow Odyssey members and I support one another, offer help, and inspiration.

Thanks to Odyssey, I have felt more comfortable talking to people about some of the serious topics that I wouldn't prior to writing for them. For whatever the reason I psychically couldn't talk about how hard it was losing my uncle. But after I wrote my article on What I Would Say If I Could Call You, One Last Time, and it peaked at 2,600+ views, it gave me a sense that other people knew how I felt.

I had friends, family, and complete strangers reach out to me following the article. For the first time in my life, I could verbally communicate with them about such issues. It helped bring me out of my shell.

I was always so anxious about sharing my articles on my social media. Facebook? For me, that was strictly for family and close friends, and I was scared people were going to judge me. They were all going to see a side of me that I show very few people. Vulnerable.

But I did it. I shared my first article on Facebook and surprisingly got a lot of support.

To anyone in need of an escape or hobby, consider writing. You can find the Odyssey application by clicking here.

Joining Odyssey family will give you a sense of belonging, just like it did for me.

Related Content

Facebook Comments