The Worst Feeling in the World (Worry)

Panic and terror had overtaken me. Next, I was left with worry. It happens to everyone, I know, but it feels worse because it happens to me.

            On a late afternoon in early spring I was already feeling drowsy after a bad night’s sleep the night before. While feeling sleepy, I casually I felt into the side pocket of my purse because I feared that something had gone amiss in my tired state. As I felt around, something startling and unwanted, happened. I expected to feel my sharp metal keys and their accompanying rubber keychain, but I felt neither material. 

            Suddenly, no longer drowsy, I was wide-awake with fear.

            And this is the pocket where I always expect to feel those things. But no, I felt nothing this time.

The Worst Feeling in the World (Worry)

         My keys were missing.

Immediately, I worried. Knowing how tedious each key would be to replace, I also started by fearing my name or address, or some such identification, happened to still be on one of the keys. If any identifier were attached and some stranger found the keys, said stranger could also find my apartment, and rob me blind. 

            They’d even have my mailbox key, FOR CHRISTSAKE! 

Who would know if I’d get allmy mail ever again?

            Thinking rationally about where I might have misplaced the keys was difficult with worry looming so large.

            Caught in a tailspin of emotions, I found it hard to concentrate enough to remember anything useful. I was only able to conjure up what could be

                        I could be robbed



                           Terrorized (with someone having complete access to my home and my                                                                                                                            mailbox)

            Gosh, I’d only lived in a non-doorman building once(for three months) during all my 13 years in New York…and those three months were hard living. Always having to be personally responsible for keys and mail, the lack of a doorman really forces the tenants to wake up and be aware.

            Personal responsibility is at a premium on days that keys go missing—without having a doorman. 

            Could I handle this life of personal accountability?

            *Remember, when I’d first moved to Manhattan, I happened to be much more injured than I am today. Back then was early in my recovery from being hit by a car in 2001. I had much more room to improve when I first moved to New York than I do today. Even my best loud-mouthed NY friend at that mid-oughts’ time, those early years of my living in NYC, consistently joked by calling me, “cripple,” and boy, did I ever feel like one?!

            But is it because I’ve been so coddled since those early years that I can’t even be trusted with a set of keys?? In a doorman building, everyone who enters the front entrance is careful and measured, which leads to a protected life. All service people I’d dealt with in recent years, from porters to doormen, had been absolutely competent and professional at their jobs. 

            Would I be able to live without them?

            My God, if I couldn’t, what would that say for my future? 

Now that my building actually allows its residents to have pets, I’ve even thought about getting either a cat, or a dog, for companionship. Could I handle a dog? I do still want to be a mother, too. Now, a mother to what, is the question. 

            Would I ever able to handle a child if I can’t even manage a key?!?

            Wow, that’s a lot to think about…

            What kind of adult had I become? Who was I?

            At least now I know to surround myself with loving, sincere, and valuable people. I texted my housekeeper and like a fairy godmother, she took the train down to me from uptown and opened my door. There on my counter, right when I walked in, lay the very objects of all my worry. My building door key, my apartment door key, and low-and-behold, my mailbox key, too. All those keys on the rubber keychain, just as I’d left them. And no identifiers were on any of those keys anywhere. If they had been lost, I would have been safe. 


            No more worrying.

            There was certainly no time for that. I’d have to refer back to all the classic worries of a single late 30-something living alone in the city. 

            And boy do I have those worries, too! 

Before I get to that—I know I don’t have the immense anxiety of caring for my own children, a marriage, or an intense day job, like most other people my age worry about. But that’s only because I haven’t gotten there YET. If I do get to those, I’ll be an older member of all of those groups.

            Oh have no fear; those worries are still to come. That’s what’s been the biggest shame of my devastating accident of ’01. I’ve been unable to go through the fundamental stages of adulthood with my peers.  

            And for now, I just worry that I won’t get those things, at all.

After all, those are REAL WORRIES, too. A life without the classic traits of a life well lived, like children and immense love, is really no life at all, in my opinion.

Every day I worry that I’ll just never get there.