A popular idiom suggests, “don’t borrow trouble.” It means don’t spend a lot of time worrying about something that might never happen. While I’m a minute-by-minute cynic (I want to go kayaking so I’m not surprised when a 30 kph wind rises as I leave the launch) I have never seen the benefit of worrying. I think along with the scar tissue I grew from my many surgeries I accepted the belief life is transient. What is the point of planning ahead? “We might be dead by then,” I say to my long-suffering husband who is trying to organize a winter holiday or renovations on the house.

I guess saving energy – mine in particular – being a priority, I don’t see the point on wasting any on a plan a multitude of variants can demolish in seconds. I’m sure many of you are arguing with me all ready. How can you get through life if you don’t plan? I’ve had trips, with my suitcase already loaded in our private plane cancelled last minute for bad weather, family trips set aside for sick children. Kayaking partners pulled out of expeditions, planned for months, because of deaths in the family, and big pieces of my life disappeared into the black hole of illness. Life taught me a goal can be snatched away at a moment’s notice.

My plans are based on the latest information and last-minute decisions. Yes, I realize I must book the tickets for the cruise ahead, but the cynic in me says, “Don’t count on taking it.” I am not a brink master, getting an adrenaline high from doing things at the last minute. I am most comfortable working ahead of deadline and commitments, reconnoitering a new situation before I go into it, and finishing one thing before starting another. I am mystified by my insistence on painting in the details at the last minute. What a contradiction.

Part of this refusal may stem from the annual increase in my analytic side. It is shooting up like a pubescent teen I can’t keep in shoes. I hesitate in making these decisions in case they are wrong. It is an annoying trait—yes as annoying as that contentious teen!

Right now, we are going through renovations. “Pick the type of countertop you want,” my husband requests. I dally as long as possible, then make a choice. But based on experience my gut, intuition and cynic huddle together whispering, “They’ll be out of that one.” I choose a soaker tub, and my analytic wonders if a better one will appear on the market the next day. I am infuriating, but I am not borrowing trouble.

We just had our sewage tank tested by the provincial park authorities. We fill it to the top; they measure the amount it holds and twenty-four hours later measure again. No leakage. Hurrah! Aside from the inconvenience of not using it for that period, it had no impact on my life. However, for two weeks prior to the scheduled test my husband agonized over the possibility of a leak in the tank. This would mean purchasing a new tank, and the cost of having the old one dug up and removed, moving a shed, destroying a cement retaining wall on two sides of the yard, taking down a pergola, and digging up a 25-foot Ponderosa pine. Aware this might be a possibility, I didn’t dwell on it. Take action only when required. The test is done. The tank doesn’t leak, and my husband is just recovering from a near panic attack brought on by his propensity for borrowing trouble.

While I applaud those, who embrace a glass half full attitude, I examine all the negatives up front, eliminate or accept them and think positively about the end result. Am I negative because I voice my concerns first? Is a spurt of anxiety while I assess the situation like several weeks of worry over a possible result? Am I borrowing trouble? If so, I pay the lender back before any interest is owed, because I believe things happen for the best – maybe not the way I envision, but the way they are meant to be.


  1. Serge
    Jun 4, 2021

    Hilarious and thoughful post. Well, here is some borrowing trouble thoughts: the tank will leak eventually, one day. And all the things above it will have to be removed! Hahaha!

    • Madelon
      Jun 4, 2021

      Serge, thanks for your perspective. You are right. At some point it will leak, but by then we won’t be here and it will be someone else’s borrowed trouble.

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