Barbara's Blog

Night Train of Regret

After the first day of Andrew’s two-day workshop in Philadelphia we sat in the hotel lounge celebrating with a dear friend and colleague who was my fellow assistant and also a workshop participant.  One glass of wine followed another as we laughed and talked about what mattered, where our lives were, where they were going, and where we might ultimately end up.

We didn’t stay up too late, knowing it was going to be another long day on Saturday. After checking the NCAA scores, Andrew and I blissfully drifted off to sleep in the luxury of a king bed without the two cats who believe that our pillows really belong to them.

Nature called at 1:00 a.m., and after settling back under the covers, my mind decided to board that all too familiar night train of current and recycled worries.  Andrew had invested hundreds of hours into honing his presentation and, as always, had the participants totally engaged. However, the enrollment numbers were far below what we needed to make a profit, much less break even with the sponsoring organization.

Though I had, in the light of day, let go of dwelling on the significant financial hit we were taking, my nighttime mind had other ideas.  I obsessively calculated the weeks of work that it took to cover the deficit, and then, as the train picked up speed, my mind traveled back in time to other times when either a decision I had made, or a circumstance out of our control, meant we had to cover a major and unexpected financial expense.

Would I always have to work hard? Would I ever be able to slow down, much less retire?  The anxiety in my chest kept building, as the digital clock on Andrew’s side of the bed now read 3:00 a.m..  “Breathe. Pray. Focus on something positive.” I told myself.  And then, to my surprise, the diner scene from When Harry Met Sally popped into my mind, abruptly and blessedly changing the channel in my brain.  I felt myself smile and the anxiety in my chest let go.

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