An invite to a friend’s 50th birthday dinner was a very nice thing to look forward to. I don’t go out much as I become anxious in a strange environment and around people I don’t know. I do still undertake this sort of thing however I do need to make some mental preparations. For this particular outing there was only going to be the six of us and I knew the two other couples extremely well and wanted to give the birthday boy a good evening.
As I don’t drink it was agreed that I would drive the four guests to the dinner. The only part of the evening that could have been stressful was that the couple hosting had just moved into a new house. I was not worried about this as it was going to be interesting to see their new home. I have to admit it had not occurred to me to worry about the journey, however once on the road it became clear that only one of the four of us had been there before, my wife! I breathed slowly and abdicated responsibility for directions as I was “the driver”. A few wrong directions later I was still OK but not, if I am honest, completely calm.
We arrived at the front of their house and I parked on a partially made up road. The house was just built and the developer was still building in the road, so the road surface was not finished. My wife was clutching a bottle of wine as she tried to climb from the car. A combination of high kerbs and arthritis in both her hands resulted in a smash of glass and the wine sprayed all over the pavement. She was not hurt, the most important thing, but we no longer had a contribution to the meal. This did not matter but of course my emotions did not agree. A list of jokes came flooding from the onlookers defusing the situation. We all know ships are launched with a bottle of bubbly, well my wife had appeared to launch the new house with a bottle of plonk! The glass was cleared up and we all entered the new home. It was probably just a combination of things, as it usually is, that I felt my anxiety starting to rise.
We all walked through to the kitchen/diner and we were greeted with all the furniture pushed against the walls. It appeared we were having a buffet but there were too many chairs for the people who had gathered. Oh, this was a situation that I had not prepared for. I took a long, slow deep breath as I could cope with this, but needed to be sensible. Drinks were forthcoming and additional guests arrived. Everyone seemed really nice but I was out of my comfort zone now, a long way out. I thought if I got out my worry beads I thought I might insult our friends. After all friends are not supposed to get anxious about meeting up for dinner.
I had a plan. I have become so accustomed to my worry beads that I can picture them in my mind. I love the grain of the laburnum pear and the contrast of the different colours of the stones. I imagined playing with them and it calmed me, I did not need to take them out. It sounds nuts to think this happened but I seemed to get a lot of the benefits of using the worry beads but without the physical contact. The group started to gel and I forgot about my worry beads, the danger had passed. Of course the subject came onto my business and out came the sample worry beads to show our old and new friends. After showing them off I kept them out of my pocket and played with them as normal.
We had a very pleasant evening, that could have gone in a completely different direction! I had learned a lot about my relationship with my worry beads.
The English Worry Bead Co