What’s the worst that can happen?

Ghostbusters

Spengler: Don’t cross the streams.
Venkman: Why?
Spengler: It would be bad.
Venkman: I’m fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing. What do you mean, “bad”?
Spengler: Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.
Stantz: Total protonic reversal.
Venkman: Right. That’s bad. Okay. All right. Important safety tip. Thanks, Egon.

I realized this morning as I was sitting on my bottom step waiting for Hayley to locate her shoes, put on her sweater, organize her backpack, inventory her snack pack, zip everything up and move it on out the door, that even though we were kissing our drop dead departure time for school, I hadn’t detected the usual mini-spike in my morning blood pressure. Last year’s me would have been much more aggressive in the “we gotta go” department, but I guess I’ve grown. If Hayley misses the bus, then, I ask, so what? It’s not like we’re headed for total protonic reversal.

My realization is very much in keeping with some tips I picked up on a radio talk show the other day. It seems that the army, responding to the rising tide of post-traumatic stress disorders among members of its current fighting force, is now incorporating stress response into basic training. The drill goes something like this: You call home and no one answers. You immediately think, “My wife has cleared out the kids and the dog and LEFT ME!!” Yup, that’s the worst case scenario. But what’s the best case? Something like, she’s won the lottery and is right now down at the local convenience store holding a press conference. What’s the most likely explanation? She’s in the basement and couldn’t hear the phone.

Applied to my late for school issue, the logic goes something like this: worst case, we miss the bus and drive to school, with plenty of time to spare. Best case, our extra couple of minutes makes us miss out on participating in a cataclysmic traffic accident. Most likely case, we have a couple fewer minutes to spend with each other waiting at the bus stop.

Notice how the worst case is never life as we know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light? Barack Obama’s got those kind of worries, I guess. But me? Not so much.

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2 Comments

  1. Monica said,

    September 23, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    I’ve got to see that movie again…loved it then. I’m so glad that your morning blood pressure is staying stable. Perhaps you could come over one morning and help me with that? 🙂 I’ve been trying to relax more, but haven’t gotten to your level of growth. I think I need to do yoga or something to help me destress and focus more.
    Hope you are staying calm with all your company coming in a few days. 🙂
    Take care,
    Monica

  2. Cheryl said,

    September 23, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    You know, things are remarkably calm around here! I can’t believe that they’re almost with us!

    By the way, my low stress is probably the same as other people’s normal stress. A function of me & my personality, not my circumstances. I’m a real overreactor (I keep it well hidden in public–a couple of years ago I would have apologized for an hour about the DD lateness last week). As with so many things, I will be recovering for my whole life. Thanks to the Ghostbusters for crystallizing it so nicely.


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