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How to Worry Less

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Southeast Asia is always teeming with Western backpackers, and there’s a silent competition among them to appear the most relaxed. You can get an idea of who’s been “in country” for some time based on how unfazed they appear in sketchy situations. Something that rattles you on the first day in Bangkok—a taxi ignoring a red light, a housecat bedding down beneath your table in a restaurant, a motorcycle using the sidewalk to sneak past a traffic jam—seems mundane a week later.

So when you’re on an overcrowded boat that seems as if it’s about to capsize with every wave, some of your fellow passengers can appear almost supernaturally relaxed. It’s hard to know who’s truly at ease in the tumult, and who’s trying to look like they are.

But you know that some of them really have achieved a Keith-Richards-like level of easygoingness, because you start to see it happening to you. You learn you can actually relax on purpose. In fact, it’s necessary to some degree, because in a foreign country you are usually a passenger with no control. As you spend more and more time being chauffeured in unlicensed boats, taxis and tuk-tuks, it begins to dawn on you that the ability to enjoy yourself is directly related to your willingness to kick your feet up (maybe just figuratively) and relax into the warm bath of passengerhood.

You have to remind yourself to do this, otherwise your mind habitually retreats from the moment around you, into an uptight inner world of catastrophizing and contingency-planning. Instead of basking in the marine air or gaping at the jewel-blue Andaman waters—or otherwise doing what you came here for—your mind is straining for some sense of control over the uncontrollable, by quizzing itself on the Blue Cross emergency number, or gauging the swimming distance to the nearest island.

The essence of relaxedness is a “good passenger” mentality—a willingness to actively enjoy the moments between “destination” moments. We often fixate on future moments that promise resolution to our current needs, such as when you get to the front of the line, or the end of a workweek, or the far shore, as if it is only in those moments that you can drop your luggage and finally be where you are with your whole heart. 

There are two major problems with waiting for these moments before you let yourself relax:

  • They make up a tiny percentage of your life. The vast majority of life consists of getting somewhere else, or otherwise alleviating some unresolved need. If you feel like you need to be there before you can fully relax into where you are, then you will seldom be relaxed in life.
  • Like all moments, these “moments of arrival” are over as soon as they begin. A new desire emerges in no time, and already you are back in that other 99.9% of life, the part that contains uncertainties and unresolved needs.

Being a good passenger is pretty simple, but you do have to remember to do it. It’s really three things:

  • Settle into your body
  • Actively watch the world unfold around you
  • Occasionally notice how nice it is to be able to do both of these things

That’s it. Whenever you notice you’re ruminating, remember to be a passenger again.

Essentially, the passenger state is a conscious shift away from analyzing, planning, and commenting, in favor of simply enjoying where your body is and what it feels like to be there. In the John Lennon sense, it means it’s time for the “life” part of life, as opposed to “making other plans” part.

This mentality is characterized by a certain kind of faith—that it is not only safe, but exhilarating to drop your security blanket of constant figuring and questioning, and just let life happen to you for a bit. The faith part is necessary, because if you’re trying to logically convince your mind that it is completely safe to let things be, you’re already stuck in analysis again.

You are always a passenger

Being a passenger isn’t an occasional circumstance. In some sense, you are a passenger whenever you don’t have total control over what is happening, which is all the time. You don’t need to actually be in a vehicle. Your body is always chauffeuring you around anyway. You can sit back and put your feet up—in spirit anyway—while you’re walking, or even driving.

The good passenger relaxes into uncertain or unresolved circumstances, with a strong sense that things will probably be okay, or at least okay enough that there’s no need to grasp at any kind of supernatural control over the future. You can watch reality unfold without flinching, trusting that you are capable enough to respond in those occasional moments that actually require a response.

At the same time, you accept that despite your best efforts, you may still end up in a mess. If you do, you will respond from there. You will gauge swimming distances only once the ship actually hits a reef. If you die you die, but it won’t be because you decided it was okay to enjoy yourself until there was a real emergency.

The unrelaxed mind experiences a thousand emergencies for every real one. And when the real one comes, the unrelaxed mind is the least prepared, because it has no faith in its owner’s ability to act in the present. It believes it can operate without this self-trust, determined instead to somehow escape the inescapable danger of being alive, just by summoning so many catastrophes to mind during ordinary moments that nothing can surprise it.

This is all delusion, because even when they do happen, no catastrophe looks quite like you thought it would. Instead of leaping into action, the mind leaps into panic, because that’s what it has been practicing.

As Mary Schmich put it in her famous “Wear Sunscreen” column, “The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blind-side you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.”

The fact that liberates the good passenger and traps the worried one is that there is no way to inoculate yourself against the idle-Tuesday blindside. No amount of rumination can head it off. Sensible decision-making and intelligent planning are a part of every well-lived life, but these things are accomplished by sitting down with a pen and paper for ten minutes now and then, not by perpetual worrying. The self-assurance that worry is trying to achieve, ironically, has everything to do with giving up attempts to control much of what you want to control: the reactions of others, the weather, the fate of the boat you’re on, the feeding behavior of local marine wildlife.

The good passenger can enjoy the stars and the waves, because he’s not trying to control them. To worry is to grasp at kinds of control that are not possible. You can never get enough of what you don’t really need, which means you can never do enough of what doesn’t really work.


Photo by Joe del Tufo
Art November 1, 2015 at 11:58 pm

Worry leads to stress. Stress leads to health issues. Health issues lead to aging quickly (among other health issues). All this adds up to a life of lesser quality.
Another good one David!

Sarah Noelle November 2, 2015 at 5:18 am

This was also my main reaction from reading! It’s true: stress is physically BAD for you. There’s also research suggesting that stress has a long-term negative effect on cognitive abilities, for example: http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v18/n10/pdf/nn.4087.pdf

Another thought I had was that although I do aspire to live more in the present moment and spend less time yearning ahead to those “destination” moments that make up a relatively rare proportion of our lives, I also sometimes feel that my life is enhanced by anticipation. I feel that I would rather, for example, plan a vacation and enjoy the anticipation of that vacation for months beforehand than have somebody else plan the vacation for me as a surprise, because then I wouldn’t get to enjoy any anticipation. I’m not sure how to reconcile this with my belief that focusing on the present moment is something to be aspired to. Maybe it’s because the flip-side of anticipation (if we’re talking about an unpleasant future event) is dread, which certainly involves stress.

David Cain November 2, 2015 at 8:36 am

I definitely appreciate the value of looking forward to things, and in fact I like to always have something to look forward to. It doesn’t have to conflict with an intention to be present more often. No matter what practices we have, we’re going to be lost in thought most of the time, it’s just a matter of returning to the present a little more often. And if we’re going to be preoccupied by the future, it’s definitely better when it’s something we’re looking forward to than something we’re fearing, for the reasons you mentioned.

Burak November 2, 2015 at 1:38 am

So beautifully put David. Congrats and thanks!

This reminded me an old parable I love very much:
One time two men loaded heavy burdens onto both their backs and heads, and buying tickets, boarded a large ship. As soon as they boarded it, one of them left his load on the deck, and sitting on it guarded it. The other, however, since he was both stupid and arrogant, did not put down his load. When he was told: “Leave that heavy load on the deck and be comfortable,” he replied: “No, I won’t put it down, it might get lost. I am strong, I’ll guard my property by carrying it on my head and back.” He was told again: “This reliable royal ship which is carrying you and us is stronger, it can protect it better than you. You may get giddy and fall into the sea together with your load. Anyway you will gradually lose your strength, and by degrees those loads will get heavier and your bent back and brainless head will not have the power to bear them. And if the Captain sees you in this state, he will either say that you are crazy and expel you from the ship, or he will think you are ungrateful, accusing our ship and jeering at us, and he will order you to be put into prison. Also you are making a fool of yourself in front of everyone. Because the perceptive see that you are displaying weakness through your conceit, impotence through your pride, and abasement and hypocrisy through your pretence, and have thus made yourself a laughing-stock in the eyes of the people. Everyone’s laughing at you.” Whereupon the unfortunate man came to his senses. He put down his load on the deck and sat on it. He said to the other: “Ah! May God be pleased with you. I’ve been saved from that difficulty, from prison, and from making a fool of myself.”

Of course, as usual, this is easier said than done. :)
Thanks again…

David Cain November 2, 2015 at 8:41 am

I like this parable because it emphasizes the faith part. It’s like a vote of confidence for the world around you (which includes ship captains, bus drivers and other professionals that are very good at NOT crashing their vehicles).

Becky Hewitt November 2, 2015 at 8:00 am

Thank you for this, more amazing insights :)

David Cain November 2, 2015 at 8:41 am

Thanks Becky.

Rose Costas November 2, 2015 at 8:11 am

This is a topic I wish we all could read and understand how important it is when someone say quit worrying. The body is not made to be stressed and so it is so easy to see those who are from a stressful environment when they are on vacation. It take some time but they get it that the world is not going any where and they need to just take a break.

David Cain November 2, 2015 at 8:44 am

I often wonder how stressed our pre-industrial ancestors were. It seems like our fight-or-flight reactions are really only appropriate when fighting or fleeing, but we have stress reactions all the time. I wonder how much of it is just the unfortunate way we evolved, and how much is due to the strange social and work environment we’ve created for ourselves.

uncephalized November 2, 2015 at 12:53 pm

I think there are several reasons for this. One, our physical world is so absurdly comfortable and easy these days that anything that requires a degree of athleticism, effort, sweat, or physical risk leads immediately to fear/dread (i.e. stress) because we are no longer used to routinely handling this kind of situation. I see this all the time.

For example, I was recently spending a fair amount of time at a hospital where a family member was undergoing chemo, and we were staying at the adjoining hotel about a 5-10 minute walk across a couple of large parking lots. It was summer in Phoenix AZ, so it was 105 degrees or more most days. I dressed for the weather in shorts and a light cotton long sleeve shirt, brought a hat and a Camelbak full of water in my backpack wherever I went, and was generally prepared like the good Eagle Scout I am. Whenever I would announce that I was headed back to the hotel, someone would invariably offer me a ride in their car. I would politely decline, at which point I would be greeted by a confused facial expression and a horrified exclamation that ‘surely you don’t intend to *walk* that far!’ It was less than a half mile! The worst I could experience is some minor heat-related discomfort! But the very idea of willingly subjecting oneself to such *privation* was apparently beyond the pale. Most of us are so soft that everything hurts, or at least we fear it will.

The other thing I notice is that we are sent signals all the time by our peers and our social authorities that there is DANGER DANGER DANGER when really what is happening is that some circumstance *might* appear that is slightly less than optimal. For instance, sales might be down 3% this quarter even though the company is still making a comfortable profit. This leads to OMG LAYOFFS DISASTER I WILL LOSE MY JOB AND HAVE NO INSURANCE AND MY CHILDREN WILL GET CANCER AND STARVE AND BE KNIFED IN THE STREET ALL AT THE SAME TIME OMGWTF WILL I DO!?!?!?! Which of course is an absurd overreaction.

I think all of this stems from us actually being paradoxically *too safe* and therefore much too risk-averse because we are not used to evaluating actual danger–but we’re still hard-wired to find it because we evolved in environments where actual physical danger was commonplace.

I’ve taken up sword fighting recently. (Not sport fencing like you see in the Olympics or reenactments like the SCA; it’s called HEMA for Historical European Martial Arts, and we learn to ‘kill’ each other with simulators of weapons from various periods using historical dueling and battlefield techniques, from period manuals and other sources, and also to actually cut through [non-living] targets with real live steel blades.) It has been a wonderful experience of learning to accept physical risk and pain–I usually come home with several nasty bruises, each of which taught me something about how not to get hit next time–as well as how much my body can actually take without breaking. It’s doing wonders for my physical confidence. And it fits marvelously well with part my general philosophy of making my life better through voluntary suffering.

Sorry for the long ramble. Your post, as usual, made me think!

Asha November 2, 2015 at 8:33 am


So beautifully written! This has been said many times, but you put it so well. It is worth reminding ourselves of this many times in many different ways.
Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi talks about putting your luggage down once you get on the train. He speaks of how life is like the train and it is pointless to carry the burden on your shoulders, when you can place it down and trust the driver. You don’t have control anyway.
It is hard to do since our mind thinks that worrying about all the possible outcomes will make us better prepared or that somehow thinking about it will help prevent it. And I find I have to consciously guard against jumping into the next moment or destination. Or thinking “I will relax one this is done”! Still struggling with that one.
Thanks for the reminder…

David Cain November 2, 2015 at 8:47 am

Thank you Asha. I think “putting your luggage down” is a really helpful phrase for remembering to relax again. We all kind of know how to do that mentally, we just forget to do it.

Meena November 2, 2015 at 9:43 am

With my recent huge life changes, I definitely need to relax and just expect to feel weird. This morning I was thinking about the difference between feeling strange because of a new situation, vs actually needing to make a change/do something/stop doing something. I’m trying to acknowledge that feeling “off” is normal, but doesn’t necessarily signify that anything is actually wrong. – From Yellowknife

David Cain November 3, 2015 at 8:39 am

Hi Meena. I’ve always thought we’re geared to feel a little “off” by default. It keeps us on our toes, always seeking a little more security and certainty than we currently have.

Marcella November 2, 2015 at 9:49 am

I’m curious as to what tools (other than pen and paper planning) can help to replace worry in a more productive way? In other words, if it’s useless to let our minds wander to horrific imaginary events that probably will never occur, what could help avoid those events that might blindside us and prevent the worry in the first place?

The Usurper November 2, 2015 at 2:58 pm

Stoicism is a powerful and useful tool to reduce worrying. Differentiating between what you can and cannot control, negative visualisation, amd practising voluntary discomfort in times of peace all serve to strengthen your mind for times of tumoil.

David Cain November 3, 2015 at 8:43 am

Meditation helps a lot because you become a lot more conscious of repetitive worried thoughts, and they become easier to take less seriously.

As for avoiding unexpected catastrophes, I’m not sure what you can do but take care of your physical and financial health.

sandybt November 2, 2015 at 9:54 am

I totally agree that taking a more relaxed attitude to life is a worthy intention and I often have occasion to mindfully practice it but still have a very long way to go.
On the other hand, the analogy to being a passenger in a foreign country reminded me of an incident from many years ago. I was visiting friends in the Philippines and we had hired a car with a driver to take us to a particular village for a day. The road was extremely rough so it took several hours to travel the short distance we were going. On the way back to the city later in the day, my fellow passengers had all lapsed into a snooze. I could easily have done the same but from where I was sitting in the back seat I could see the driver’s eyes in the rear view mirror and noticed that his eyelids kept drooping. I thought I’d better stay awake and watchful so when his eyes started remaining closed for increasing lengths of time I roused my co-passengers in alarm. The road was so bumpy that we could easily have bounced off and landed upside down. Only one passenger could communicate with the driver as he didn’t speak English, so she did that and he assured her that he was perfectly fine. After that I had the impression that the others suspected I was just an overly worried tourist; however I remain convinced to this day that my hyper-vigilance probably saved us from a catastrophe.
So I guess it all depends on the situation one finds oneself in … there is an appropriate time and place to grasp the reins of control and other times to just relax into it.

David Cain November 3, 2015 at 8:44 am

That is scary. Glad you made it!

nrhatch November 2, 2015 at 10:01 am

Wonderful post . . . from first to last. And you avoided antagonizing the “Beatles vs. Rolling Stones” crowd by including both Keith Richards and John Lennon in your missive.

My favorite passage:

“Essentially, the passenger state is a conscious shift away from analyzing, planning, and commenting, in favor of simply enjoying where your body is and what it feels like to be there. In the John Lennon sense, it means it’s time for the “life” part of life, as opposed to “making other plans” part.”

“A good traveler has no set plans and is not intent on arriving.” ~ Lao Tzu

Relaxing into the moment allows us to enjoy the journey, no matter what happens.

And Mary Schmich is right ~> it’s the bus we don’t see that hits us!

Write on!

David Cain November 3, 2015 at 8:45 am

Good old Lao Tzu. Beat me to it by 25 centuries or so.

Delma November 2, 2015 at 10:29 am

Thanks, David.

This is worth reading more than once because to understand it intellectually doesn’t bring relief from worrying thoughts, in my experience. Only through inquiring into how thoughts create a very different scenario than what’s actually happening in any given moment did I really see the difference. It’s a practiced skill even in the best of times.

I remember sitting in an emergency room as doctors fretted about my husband possibly going into cardiac arrest. Several people were buzzing around him but I suddenly GOT that they were thinking and speculating (their jobs, thankfully) but that their thoughts were not what was actually happening. What was happening was my husband lying comfortably in bed. I nearly panicked not only because of my thoughts, but because of my thoughts about their thoughts. Thoughts twice removed.

It’s so easy to do.

Drawing a map of thoughts vs. a map of what’s actually happening and comparing the two is a worthy exercise when we find ourselves knee deep in worry. They rarely match.

David Cain November 3, 2015 at 8:48 am

It’s amazing how the catastrophizing impulse works. You picture the catastrophe, and then you feel like you’re already dealing with it, even though nothing like it is happening.

This is why I find it so helpful to keep returning into how the body is feeling, whenever you notice you’re wrapped up in thoughts. Thinking is often very abstract and doesn’t contain a lot of real-life details like how your body feels, or how the air feels. At any time you can return to the body, and it becomes instantly clear what’s really happening.

Sandra Pawula November 2, 2015 at 12:48 pm

This is an amazing piece! If we can just be present to life, so many of our chaotic emotions would dissolve.

David Cain November 3, 2015 at 8:49 am

Thanks Sandra.

Amy November 2, 2015 at 1:00 pm

“A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once. It seems to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.”
— William Shakespeare “Julius Caesar”

David Cain November 3, 2015 at 8:51 am

The second sentence there is especially interesting to me. Epicurus argued that we shouldn’t fear death, because being dead is not something that happens while you’re there to experience it.

Anonymous Follower November 2, 2015 at 6:29 pm

I thought this was an excellent post — one of those that touches on thoughts I’ve had myself but never been able to put into words.

Cari November 2, 2015 at 7:49 pm

love Love LOVE your final thought: “You can never get enough of what you don’t really need, which means you can never do enough of what doesn’t really work.” Perhaps you’ve summed up American culture? Intentionally or unintentionally, (in my opinion) this statement not only ties up your article perfectly, it also speaks to where so many are “at” right now in America. Thank you for sharing this

mike November 2, 2015 at 7:54 pm

Sometimes I read something that knocks my socks off. This was one of those times. Thank you.

Kelley November 2, 2015 at 9:39 pm

Okay, yes. My eyes welled up. A few times. This was written about me and for me. And I needed to hear it tonight.

I’ve bookmarked it. I’ve got some work to do putting it into practice. :-)

Thank you, David. So well written. This was truly a gift.

trillie November 3, 2015 at 2:42 am

It all has to do with relinquishing control, which is something that you can do purposefully, but also sometimes happens by default. I hardly ever fly and am nervous about it up to the point where it keeps me up for about a week in advance, but the moment that plane takes off it just goes away because I know full well if something were to happen to that plane there is no way at all I could ever do something about it, and I just have to accept my fate. Knowing this, I try to apply that knowledge to different situations, but it isn’t always easy to tell myself I really wouldn’t be able to control a situation, no matter how hard I tried. I suspect it’s because on some level, I’m still not convinced I don’t have super powers ;-)

Prathibha November 3, 2015 at 5:19 am

Another great article from you David. Couldn’t agree more at all! Very nicely put. I needed this!

Tonya November 3, 2015 at 8:24 am

“The unrelaxed mind experiences a thousand emergencies for every real one.” So true. I’ve fallen in and out of worry because I find I have to practice “not” worrying. It’s such a natural default for me, but it does absolutely nothing to serve me. Beautiful post!

Tracy November 3, 2015 at 2:31 pm

“Sensible decision-making and intelligent planning are a part of every well-lived life, but these things are accomplished by sitting down with a pen and paper for ten minutes now and then, not by perpetual worrying.”
This sentence is significant for me, because people sometimes give me grief for thinking of what could go wrong and planning for it. It’s not worrying to think of contingency plans, but it is to turn it over and over in your mind. Recently I took a trip and planned what to do if my glasses fell apart (which they periodically do). It actually did happen, and Plan B saved my bacon. Knowing I had a plan meant that I could let go of it until the problem had occurred.

Carl November 4, 2015 at 12:56 am

David, your post reminds me of what I learned from my MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) class. Now, to consistently apply it…

Free to Pursue November 4, 2015 at 7:51 am

Beautifully said. It’s unfortunate that we need to unlearn what society teaches us from an early age: that our present life is only to be used to prepare for the future. We’re told that if we follow the path and work hard, we’ll eventually be happy. We’re constantly preparing for the future and forgetting the most important part of our lives: the present. This way of thinking is essentially robbing us of our ability of living in the now and leading us to believe we have more control over our lives than we actually do (and if something bad happens to us, if we fail in some way, it must be because we didn’t plan properly). Thank you for sharing this important and liberating approach to living.

Mark January 27, 2016 at 2:48 pm

Love this comment, such an amazing point. Simple and obvious – but only after realising it !

Julie November 4, 2015 at 8:58 am

I was struck by this thought in your excellent post: “We often fixate on future moments that promise resolution to our current needs, such as when you get to the front of the line, or the end of a workweek, or the far shore, as if it is only in those moments that you can drop your luggage and finally be where you are with your whole heart.”

As a teacher, I sometimes find myself and my colleagues waiting for semesters to end so that we could have a break from the grading, the prepping, the committee meetings, etc. (Of course, most students start “counting down” the weeks after mid-semester so that they could have a break from the reading, the writing, the exams!)

When I find myself wishing that it were May or December, I wonder why I would want time to pass more quickly without enjoying the present moment. Then I try to channel my dog–who lives much more in the present!–and attempt to enjoy the journey as well. Thanks for the reminder!

Chris November 4, 2015 at 1:57 pm

Those tuk-tuk drivers are fucking nuts though. We took one up to the Buddha in Phuket. Was crazy since it was a really long uncomfortable drive.

Additionally, we got pulled into one of the clothing store scams. At first, I was super angry at myself and thought I was going to be out the $70 but actually ended up getting the dress shirts delivered the next day to our hotel. All the worry didn’t help and I actually still wear a few of the shirts to this day.

Final comment, as I’ve gotten older, I have similar worries every time I take off/land in an airplane. Then I realize that I can’t stop it now if II want to get to mydestination. I usually just start thinking about my wife and daughters and figure that if I’m going out, I’ll go out thinking of them. Sometimes the best you can do is just think some happy thoughts.

VS November 5, 2015 at 1:23 am

Great post, as always. Thank you!

Samuel Mandell November 5, 2015 at 7:53 am

Great piece as usual. I was particularly struck by the beautiful language, particularly towards the end of the piece. Your writing is normally very good, but some of what’s in here was exquisite. Here are some of my favorite lines:

It believes it can operate without this self-trust, determined instead to somehow escape the inescapable danger of being alive, just by summoning so many catastrophes to mind during ordinary moments that nothing can surprise it.

Instead of leaping into action, the mind leaps into panic, because that’s what it has been practicing.

Sensible decision-making and intelligent planning are a part of every well-lived life, but these things are accomplished by sitting down with a pen and paper for ten minutes now and then, not by perpetual worrying.

The good passenger can enjoy the stars and the waves, because he’s not trying to control them.

Thanks for writing these lines.

julie olson November 12, 2015 at 8:41 am

Have you ever experienced the book “Remember, Be Here Now” by Baba Ram Das? It is the transformation of Richard Alpert (Timothy Learys colleague) into Baba Ram Das. Which is achieved through the same premise as your learning to fully experience the moment. Identical concepts. Just presented differently.
I have shared it with many people on my journey through life. Its viability being achieved by remembering when the anxiety builds and festers as we try to be somewhere besides this moment the very simple act of saying “Be here now” instantly centers us relieving us of that chest tightening, stomach churning none life enhancing behavior.
I usually share this concept when driving in an automobile and whether because running late, don’t think we should have to be held up at a red light, accident or whatever is irritating us-REMEMBER-three words will alleviate the tension we have created within….


By fully experiencing now that none life enhancing behavior disappears until we give it life again. Of course there is much more that goes along with all this. My philosophies, beliefs, truths or that which is is always evolving. I hope someday our paths might cross for a brief moment enabling us to toss our ideas around. Its invigorating interacting with another evolved soul.

Thank you for your website. It is a definite positive life enhancing entity. Please contact me whenever you want.

I wanted to share that with you.

Your fellow life adventurer,
Julie Olson

Paula November 22, 2015 at 1:46 pm

Great post David. I know I worry too much and am working on being more relaxed and enjoying my moments. Your analogy of being a “good passenger” reminds me of when I was a youngster riding the double decker buses in my hometown in the UK. We always rode on the top tier and had no fear of the way the bus would sway going around corners or over bridges. We would climb narrow stairs with ease and walk down the narrow isle while the bus was in motion without fear of falling. There were no seat belts or air bags and we always arrived safely at our destination regardless of the terrain or the weather.

Several years later now living in the US I took a ride on double decker bus in Houston and it scared the crap out of me.

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