Today I’m going to let you into a little secret.
Firstly, I love Bali. Secondly, I’m a worrier. And I’m always looking for tips to help me stop worrying.
You might see suposedly super-confident me doing 70kms on my bicycle on Instagram, or jetting off to Bali without a care in the world in my Facebook posts. You might see me modelling clothes and looking like it’s no big deal on the blog.
Maybe you’ll recognise bits of you in this secret too, because underneath the superficial confident me is the anxious me, the lily livered alter ego which resides so very close to the surface and sometimes almost prevents me from ‘Living the Life’ which one of my friends is assured that I do.
There is something about getting older which insidiously strips you of confidence. Slowly but surely.
For me it manifests as worry.
You know, you’re not quite so sure about that adventure holiday or retirement adventure you always thought you wanted to pursue because well, what if?
You’re not quite so certain of your step – remember that time you faltered going down those steps when your balance felt a little funny.
You’re not sure if you can get on a bike, ride a horse, go white water rafting – do the adventurous stuff anymore because, well you’re getting on a bit.
And you’re not quite so sure of your opinions anymore in the presence of younger people because, my oh my how things have changed and how differently the Gen X, Gen Y and millenials think about things.
I’ve noticed some of these confidence tricksters vieying for centre stage in the last few years, and I’ve had to bat them down with a strong stick, saying: “No No No, you’re not coming for me.”
A walk in Bali
A sunny morning in Bali was a point in case, and I don’t feel proud about it.
Dave and I had set off for a walk along a lonely strip of path beyond our villa near Ubud towards and through the rice paddies heading for town.
Hotel staff had been unclear about the way to Ubud, in fact I wonder if any of them had ever walked this way, as guests are encouraged to take the golf buggy which then takes you to the shuttle bus that regularly chugs along the main road into town.
“You go to the end of the concrete path and then turn left. You go left and right and zigzag through the rice paddies. It’s a bit complicated,” they said. Then they got all vague, and quickly changed the subject.
So we didn’t know the way. The way was unclear, and now you see this is probably running along the lines of a Biblical parable, but anyway Dave was confident we’d get there.
It was searingly hot as we walked along the thin strips of path following the irrigation channels through the rice paddies. Farmers in conical hats wielding scythes and pushing ploughs were busy at work tilling the land and exuding a lot more fortitude than me.
“Do you know where we’re going, do you have any idea at all?” I kept asking Dave.
Dave honestly replied “No,” and the sun directly overhead wasn’t giving us any geographical clues, but he had an inkling we would get to Ubud anyway.
“When, do you think?”
“I don’t know. Maybe an hour. Who knows?”
Then the worry monster got busy in my head. No, he didn’t get busy. By now he’d drunk a bottle of vodka and was turning somersaults in my mind.
“Okay I’m turning back.”
And I did. The fear of the unknown had turned into a vice grip around my gut and I seriously had no intention of carrying on.
Yes, the worry monster had already told me our water would run out, then I’d get sunstroke, that the heat was too much and I’d keel over in rice paddy and die – and worse hell, my phone was without international roaming so we couldn’t call anyone.
Dave, the brave, carried on regardless.
As I teetered back along the pathway, not so footsure as I once was, I passed a naked man having a wash in the irrigation channel. I think he was as surprised to see a tourist on this stretch of farmland as I was to chance upon a nude farmer.
I’m not going to show you a picture of a nude farmer, but this was kind of the scene …
I stopped to take a photo of a bucollic scene of ducks in the rice paddies, turned around and unwittingly almost snapped a shot of an old man having a pee.
Another man passed me carrying a huge moon shaped scythe and we wriggled close to pass each other to prevent falling into the rice paddies.
I kind of wished now that I’d walked on into the unknown with Dave instead.
Suddenly my heart was in my mouth and I was super fearful.
Perhaps it’s this long bank of memories which sometimes makes me panic these days? Perhaps it’s just that I pay too much attention to the memories.
I was certainly more gung-ho in my youth. I didn’t think of danger. We feel invincible when we’re young don’t we?
But now it’s only me. What am I afraid of?
Myself. Sometimes I’m just afraid of myself. And it’s time to get over myself.
“Courage is the first of human virtues because it makes all others possible,” Aristotle
Here’s what I intend to do to maintain confidence and stop worrying as I age.
- Tell the worry monster to just shut up.
- Tell myself that I’m stronger than I think and that I’m capable of handling adverse situations.
- Tell myself that worrying is much worse and far more energy sapping than dealing with a challenge if it arises.
- Understand what I’m afraid of and then seek means to address the situation – Set out for adventure but make sure that I’m adequately prepared. This might include knowing What to Pack for Bali and Packing Wisely for tropical holidays.
- On long walks in foreign countries make sure I have: Handy phone numbers, adequate water, money, suntan lotion, mosquito repellent, plasters, that sort of thing.
- Get into a routine of exercise which includes balancing exercises, weight bearing and cardio so that I continue to feel strong and balanced as I get older.
- Look after myself better – eat well, and drink more water.
Are you more of a worry bug as you get older, or are you as gung-ho as you’ve ever been?
I feel I better put in my comment because I am not a worrier at all and I am 58. I look at things with positivity. What will happen will happen but I always approach it with a smile. Who knows what will be the end result will be of anything so why plan for trouble. If Things go wrong I just reflect, learn and then let it go. Loosen up, your old enough to ask for help. Don’t get old and frail by frightening yourself. Get strong and live sisters.
Hello Kathleen, I love a reality check and consider a boot up the you know what a good thing every now and then. You have a great attitude and I’m taking it on board! Thanks for taking in the time to comment and come back soon x
I am constantly vacillating between gun-ho adventure woman and worry wart extraordinaire. I never used to worry, but worry has been with me since becoming a mom, and instead of it getting better as I get older, it is getting worse.
It is an age thing isn’t it Cherie 🙁
A good list of tips , Jo. If you do #4 to #7, it will be less likely that you need to do #1 to #3. I’m visiting from MLSTL.
Lol! So true Natalie!
I am hardly ever scared but just yesterday I had myself in a real tizzy over something. Husband was playing golf for the first time this year so I decided to do some shopping. I was on my way home when I went through a yellow light. A car came from out of nowhere speeding up on my bumper. I saw the car in my rearview mirror and it kept riding my bumper. At first, I thought it was a police car but then I realized a young man was driving and there was a girl in the front also. They followed me for a mile or so then pulled up on the right of me. I couldn’t tell if they were watching me or not. I slowed down and they eventually pulled in front of me. I made up my mind if they still were in view when I turned on my street I wasn’t turning. They turned off right before I got to my street so I turned in but I had myself worked up to the point I thought they were turning to come follow me to my house.I can’t tell you how many crazy thoughts went through my mind. I am embarrassed to the point that this is the first time I have even mentioned it. I am not sure how my mind went so whacky on me. I guess I have read too many books or watched too many movies but I do know where you are coming from
Oh Gawd Victoria – you and me the same. I’ve done that – it’s crazy. Yes I think we’ve watched way too many movies!
Life Images by Jill
I’ve never been the adventurous type though I envy people who are and I wish I could be more like them. And I know what the worry monster is like sitting there on our shoulders waiting to pounce! I would have thought Jo after your “world cruise” that you had him well and truly sussed. I think the key is to keep on keeping on and getting out there and just doing it.
Absolutely Jill, we just have to keep on swatting the worry bug off our shoulders!
You’re right, you know…you are stronger than you think, and it does take more energy to worry about something that hasn’t happened yet, then it does to deal with challenges as they occur. I love your list of things to do to encourage confidence!
Totally agree Candi 🙂 So glad you liked my little list 🙂
I am the world’s worst worrier! I have learned to get a handle on it over the last few years, but as I read your post I realized that I’d be scared stiff if I’d been in your position – I manage okay within my comfort zone, but put me in a foreign country (getting lost) or even driving to somewhere on the otherside of Perth (!!) and I get a twist in my gut and start conjuring up all these worst case scenarios where I die on the side of the road – lost forever! I’m ashamed at how pitiful I am about stuff like this, but it’s part of my ingrained nature. My daughter laughs at me – I just admit to being pathetic and try to stay within my boundaries – probably missing out on heaps in the process.
Thanks for linking up with us at #MLSTL and I’ve shared this on my SM xx
Hi Leanne, Oh I hear you on so many counts 🙂 Thanks for sharing this post xx
OMG are you my sister? I cannot tell you how much I relate to this and I have to constantly tell that worrier self to shut up. I love your list of practical tips to help minimise the worrying (it never goes away but that’s OK). I have just embarked on Pilates and I noticed at my first session that they have a wobble board – Oh I thought, not ready for that. But you are right about fears stopping us enjoying life; I have a dodgy ankle which makes me so nervous about going in even the mildest surf – so I’m working on improving that too. Pinning this post x
Hello Sister! Hi Jan, that’s so funny 😉 And oh the wobble board at Pilates sounds like something you and me should consider together – then it would be more of a giggle board, I’m sure 🙂 Thanks so much for pinning this post xx
Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond
I’m a worrier too Jo and in fact my kids say that I worry if I don’t have something to worry about. My daughter is an executive coach and has not inherited to ‘worry gene’ thank goodness. She often helps me overcome my worries by giving me tools to use. It must have been very worrying for you in both your experiences in Bali. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and helping us feel a little better that we aren’t the only one to worry. Great to have you link up at Midlife Share the Love Party and enjoy your week. Also, thanks for showing your V for Vulnerability and sharing how you feel – that is brave but inspiring. xx
Hi Sue, thanks for your lovely reply, and it’s always a pleasure linking up with and reading the other MSTLP stories each week. Yes, showing one’s vulnerability isn’t always easy – another thing to worry about!
Yes I am more of a worry bug as I have gotten older Jo! Anxiety, worry, fears – far worse than when I was younger. I truly believe it is all tied in to the change in hormones. I try and take good care of myself – move my body, eat healthy, keep my brain curious and active. I accept these things as part of the mid-life me. I don’t let it run my life but I accommodate them to a degree by carefully considering them when planning what I do. I hope you got home safely from your Bali walk! 😉 xo
Hi Min, I know … is it connected to an accumulation of knowledge as we travel through life? We just have so much more to compare each situation to than we did when we were younger. Like you I try and take good care of myself too, and darn I try to keep that worry bug in a deep dark cell! Yes, thank you I did get back to the hotel safely – a nice cup of tea and a little lie by the pool put me back on track!