I worry about tomorrow's money. What's not to worry about?
Will my (very small) pension be enough? How will I manage on my own with the utility bills rising all the time? I lie in bed at night when I get these attacks, reproach myself for all the wrong financial and life choices I have ever made and imagine how I will live as a bag lady.
Self pity and insecurity don't make for a happy mix, and it's pretty obvious if I read the paper or watch the news that there are so many in a similar or worse situation. As the world population goes, believe me, I'm in the fortunate half. Even in the UK I'm not doing too badly. No debt. No dependents. None of this makes me feel any better.
So I’ll have to work as long as I can. OK. Fine. Find something that is worthwhile and makes my heart sing, or at least doesn't make it sink, and I'd definitely choose to be occupied and happy.
I have a good and exceedingly well-heeled friend who owns a couple of rental properties, who has a portfolio of stocks and shares, who is a Buddhist and who also worries about becoming a bag lady. In my more jaundiced moments I roll my eyes. This is unfair to her. I love and trust this woman and believe that when she tells me what she is feeling she is telling me her truth. Her fear is very tangible.
Her teacher tells her that she is powerless over outside events. That her best defence against financial, or any other, uncertainty is to live simply, kindly, in each moment, to make each second a mindful and one-pointed one, and to meditate. That’s it, aside from normal prudent budgeting.
Beyond logic. Yet at a deep level I know this is the answer. What is important is to accept that I see through a glass darkly and what I have to do is to finish this post then go downstairs and start the washing machine. Make a phone call. Take the cat to the vet at 9 o'clock. Mow the lawn. Laugh at jokes. Watch for opportunities today. Tomorrow. In six months time. Oh, and give some coins to the busker.
Leap into the chasm. No alternative when you really think about it. I’m still queasy and scared. I wish the ever-present fear would go away, but it doesn’t. In the here and now I'm not permitted (or required) to have all the answers. I hate that.