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Yesterday I wrote a poem that referred to a source of anxiety I’ve had this past month. Cancer was not mentioned specifically in the poem, but it’s been on my mind as a possibility. Fortunately, after testing and not knowing, I can now take it off my list of worries.

As an overthinker, that list is still pretty long!

I was always someone who wanted to know in advance: grades in high school and college, what chair I was going to sit in when I auditioned for orchestras, how I was going to place in poetry contests, what matches my favorite tennis players would win (or not), what my finishing time would be in the 18 marathons I’ve run, whom and when I was going to marry, would I live happily ever after?

Before our daughter joined us in this world, we found out fairly late in the pregnancy that there was a 10% chance she would be born with an extra chromosome. I started to overprocess which in the long run helped our family although I was not the most fun guy to be around. By the time it was confirmed that Ellen did indeed have trisomy 21, I had met several wonderful families whose children have Down Syndrome.

SmoothieWe have been beyond fortunate with our daughter, but also smart. Ellen has been on a nutritional regimen, about which I posted many months ago, since she was a few months old. My husband is a linguist and Ellen speaks two languages beautifully. She tries new vocabulary and phrases every day, often with a wonderful grin on her face. I love poetry. Ellen is now writing her own poems, at age 6, almost every day. She is stunning. We have a long road ahead of us, but optimism is a pretty constant mood in our home.

In many ways it’s helped me in life that I like to prepare for outcomes. In other regards, I need to let go of needing to know how a book will end before I have read all the chapters.

I’ve been biting the same place inside my cheek lately. I’ve always wanted to know why that happens. Here is the best explanation I could find: it’s a byproduct of mildly compulsive reactions to stress. One solution: ease emotional overload.

The world has sure become a lot crazier since the new occupants of the White House have made life a little too interesting, as in, What Can They Possibly Be Thinking?!

It’s taken me years, but I’m slowly getting there — pick my times carefully for investing a lot of emotion, control what I can control, and let go of what I can’t. The inside of my mouth will be a lot better off for it!