High Anxiety

A few weeks ago, I went to see the Tony award winning musical Next to Normal.  I really liked the premise which (to be vague enough not to give anything away) deals with “cracking up.”  I especially related to the main character when she says, “People who think they’re happy just haven’t thought about it enough.”  Funny.  And true.  Just like the cliche: Ignorance is bliss.

I’ve had this discussion with friends lately.  Is ignorance bliss?  After all, anxiety from stress is now medically proven to cause health problems.  Is it better to be vacuously blank and, therefore, stress-free?

Mel Brooks' High AnxietyI am not a genius, but I am perceptive of situations.  This, I believe, is what makes me a writer and an actress.  It is also what gives me ongoing anxiety and the occasional panic attack.  Hell, I can have anxiety attacks over a range of things from the fact that I never had children and will die alone to the realization that I forgot to mail my Netflix DVD immediately after viewing and am, therefore, overpaying for the service.  I am, in short, a nut bag.

And yet how many times do I berate (mostly internally) the “stupids” who seem oblivious to their surroundings?  The person driving 40 mph in the freeway’s fast lane?  The co-worker who always borrows my stapler and never returns it?  The dodo who cuts in front of me in the ticket line without a word or acknowledgment?  To answer my not-so-rhetorical question: a lot.

But these folks may very well live years longer than me.  Their anxiety-free existence should allow them to annoy people well into old age.  With all my worries (petty and important), I’ll probably be gone by my 60s. But, by God, I will have gotten my money’s worth out of my Netflix subscription.