I shared my first week back at work with Kevin, gerbil No 2 in our household. Stuart, my son’s first gerbil, died tragically a year ago. Kevin on the other hand has grown into a strong, healthy lad. The pride and joy of our family.
Until this week. When suddenly my son got worried. ‘Look at his ears, they seem so strange,’ he said on Monday. I looked at Kevin’s ears. The appeared normal. ‘Look at his poo, it has a weird colour,’ my son said on Wednesday. I looked at the perfect gerbil poo. By Thursday, Kevin had moved into my office, so I could keep an eye on him during the day. My son rang me from school three times. ‘How is Kevin?’ ‘He is fine,’ I replied.
Then I suddenly understood what was happening. My son is trialing for the Under 13 Barnet football team. Barnet is a professional football club. If he gets in, he will be a step closer to his dream of becoming a football player. It’s huge pressure on the boy. Anxieties are running high. And he has transferred them onto the gerbil.
Anxieties are a funny business. The longer I live, the more I accept that they are part of our human nature. We can’t escape them. And indeed they are necessary. Anxiety keeps us on our guard and pushes us forward. In an unhealthy dose, however, anxieties paralyse us. But if we want to grow beyond our comfort zones, anxiety will accompany us. We just have to learn how to handle it.
‘Look who is talking,’ Peirene is clearly amused by my wisdom. ‘Who has woken up every day this week at 4am and couldn’t go back to sleep?!’
I have, I admit. This first week was stressful. Worries about the 2014 series, which hadn’t yet totally fallen into place. Worries about the amount of emails which still waited for a reply. Worries about conversations I needed to have with people.
But for the last two nights I have slept better – even though I still have an in-box full of messages. And Kevin has moved out of the office, my son no longer seems to be preoccupied with animal health issues.
‘Hm, I prefer not to deal with anxieties in the first place.’ Peirene comments.
‘And you indeed don’t,’ I mutter to myself. ‘You are very good in transferring them onto me.’
Image by pobre.ch.