January 16 , 2020 /


Here is a quote from Anne Lamott on Wednesday, January 15, that inspired this blog: “You can’t say that things will be fine down the road, because that holds the spiritual authority of someone chirping ‘No worries!’ at Starbucks, or my favorite, ‘It’s all good!’ at the market. It’s *so* not all good. And I’m worried sick.”    I get that, meaning I understand what Anne is saying and why she’s saying it.

“No worries” is an expression seen in English meaning “do not worry about that”, “that’s all right”, “she’ll be alright”, “over the shoulder”, “forget about it” or “sure thing”. It is similar to the standard English “no problem”. … The phrase “no worries” has been referred to as the national motto of Australia. (from Wiki)

The other day, when I told a cashier I had left a tip on the table rather than putting it on the charge slip, she said, “No worries.”   My first response, in my head, was “I’m really not worried about that at all,” but I didn’t say that.  I said to myself, “Why be so literal?  Go with the flow.”

I worry about some people and some things and I worry about what is happening and not happening.  Maybe worry is the wrong word and if you replace it with “genuine concern” it will make more sense. Yes, that’s it, making sense when so much does not seem to make sense.  Want my short list?  Health care, education, climate and environment, political miasma, guns, and the lack of moral leadership.  We’ll leave that for starters.

What bothers me is that many people, in exchanging words, aren’t thinking at all about what they are saying.  It is as if they have an automatic robot response in gear that is totally mindless, and may I suggest useless as well. There is no point in what my mother called “making a mountain out of a mole hill” and I knew exactly what she meant.

A friend, Jim, has a tattoo on his arm which reads, “You have nothing to worry about.” This was spoken to him by his Dad. as he was dying, looking his son right in the eye, declaring that it was God’s words for him. Jim says, “The look on his face was all that I needed to distinguish profound Truth, and as I recall the experience I weep with awe and wonder. It overwhelms me.”

What I said to Jim, referring back to Anne Lamott’s quote, is that some people seem to confuse worry with concern.  Having concern and compassion for people and the planet that are suffering may well fall into the category of “worry” and what I conclude is that it’s OK to worry about those things and people we care about the most.  However, we need not be extremely worried to the point of being anxious and upset and paralyzed into inaction.

Here’s my temptation.  The next time someone says to me, “No worries.”  I am thinking about saying, “What ARE you talking about?  What do you mean, ‘No worries?’  How do you know what I worry about?  Do you worry about anything or anyone?”  I know, it’s pointless really.  Maybe next I’ll write about “It’s all good!”  It’s not all good.  I agree, Anne.  Thank you.


Comments (2)

  1. As always, i stop here and continue pondering long after I close the screen. I do say “no worries” – probably even more now that I live in Australia. However, when I say it, I think I don’t mean they shouldn’t worry about it (whatever the issue was at hand) but that I’m not. The words we choose are so interesting. I agree with you, there are things happening in the world and in our homes that should deeply concern us. If anyone is thinking that “no worries” is a life philosophy, it’s time to reassess.


  2. Thanks. So glad to see you again and have your thoughts. I understand how language develops a turn of a phrase. I think sometimes it’s merely a habitual response and that’s OK too. Words fascinate me more than most people and I enjoy pursuing the origins and seeing how we pick up or pick out just a few words to perhaps express something that would take longer or does not get said verbally. In this world of sound bytes, speed, and fleeting time, we’re often looking for a shortcut. When someone or something is of great value, we might do well to slow down or is it slow up? Never mind, you know what I mean. Love those kids while they’re there in every way you can, They will be gone soon enough and that is another of life’s great experiences.

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