Parnoid, Perceptive or Prepared?


In light of the horror that via instant access we’re made aware of constantly, I had a conversation with a friend about how the news stresses me about all that could happen in any given moment. Her response was that for the most part, she doesn’t stress because she believes none of it will ever happen to her!

Honestly, I envy my friends outlook. I wish I was like that. However, I’m not wired that way (having high-level anxiety, controlled panic disorder, and a vivid imagination doesn’t  help). I’m wary of everything going on around me and my kids. Looking back as far as I can remember, I’ve always been like this.  By definition (I checked with Webster), I’m not paranoid. I am perceptive and as much as is humanly possible, I am always prepared and cautious. I tell my kids a dozen times a day to “be careful”.  But, I realize that with being careful, you also need to be smart, which takes us back to being prepared. For example, I can tell my kid to “be careful” crossing the street. Of course, he will be; adding “be smart” to that means, also be prepared for a driver who isn’t being careful. The one who runs the red light or doesn’t see you in the cross work as he’s making a turn.

I could list at least a thousand occasions where I’ve been perceptive of and in turn prepared about things, good and bad, around me, that have gone unnoticed by others with me. I know this for a fact because as the moment passed, I’ve said “did you see that woman driving oddly?”, “Did that see that guy acting sort of suspiciously in the parking lot?” “Did you notice that guy checking you out?”.  Their response, “Nope didn’t notice”.

Which leads me to my point. There are so many people who just are not tuned into the world around them. Though they might be calmer than me, are they actually putting themselves in harm’s way? Perhaps because they think nothing will ever happen to them, avoidable things do happen to them. I, on the other hand, am conscious of the fact,  if it happens to someone, it can indeed happen to me, so perhaps there are things I’ve been spared of. Of course, I know some things are unavoidable. There are victims who no matter how smart, wary or careful they were would still have been victims. Sadly, that’s life, with no guarantees. But, then there are also victims who perhaps could have avoided an incident or at least lessened the devastation of results.

Take for example the following instances.  When you’re driving, there are times when, if you’re paying extra close attention, you’ll see someone behind a wheel who just doesn’t have it together and doing so might prevent you being part of his accident. Those times when remaining at a green light for an extra beat might prevent being broadsided. When waiting an extra second before walking across a street would prevent you from being plowed into. Walking through a parking lot and noticing the suspicious guy might prevent a mugging. Quickly leaving a place because of a customer behaving oddly could save your life. I’ve done all these things; having avoided incidences I always say my guardian angel was working over time. In that, I also refer to the saying “God helps those who help themselves”.

Let me clarify, I don’t roam about in fear locked in a room afraid of my own shadow. I live a happy, productive life pretty much doing all the things I desire to do, without constant worry; without paranoia. I always entrust myself to God’s care and know what will be, will be. However, I do all the things I choose to do while being vigilantly alert.  Granted, sometimes it can be exhausting. It does indeed annoy people – especially my kids who always say “mom do you have to notice EVERYTHING”. In fact, there’ve been times when they know just by my expression I’m noticing something on my radar and they’ll tease “ok, what are we on the look out for now?”

Go ahead and laugh, tease, criticize or encourage me to calm down. Seriously, I’m not planning on changing. I’ll remain perceptive and prepared, heeding my internal warning signs. Actually, I’m not even envying my friends nonchalant take on stuff not happening to her. I’ll stay as I am… wary, street smart, and diligently cautious. It could offer me the opportunity to, save myself or someone else. And then at least no matter what happens  I’ll know I tried.

Plus, I know I’ll never miss a cute guy flirting!


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