I loved shel silverstein growing up. Funny, smart and sassy, his books of poetry are still some of my favorite things to read through. While I laughed through many poems as a child, they are starting to affect me differently as an adult. Especially this one:
Whatif by Shel Silverstein
Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I'm dumb in school?
Whatif they've closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there's poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don't grow taller?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won't bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don't grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!
My Whatifs now are different; older and more introspective. I don't worry about my teeth growing in straight (they didn't) or if I don't grow taller (I won't). Instead my whatifs are along the lines of whatif we miss a tick, whatif the cancer comes back, whatif something at work changes, whatif I don't like my internship, whatif this...whatif that...whatif, what if, WHAT IF.
I'm learning, though, that my whatifs only have as much power as I let them take. I can either be controlled by my whatifs or learn to control them. I can either live in fear of the unknown or try to be okay with not having all the answers. I can choose to worry about the things I can control and let go of the billion and a half unknowns that I can't.
Knowing all this doesn't always makes the whatifs easier, though. Learning to be okay with the fact that there are whatifs that won't have answers has been a good, though long, lesson. Every time I find another whatif that could take over my mind, I have to remember that these little things only affect me if I let them. Now, the secret is to not let them. Easier said than done, but I'm learning. Slowly. Too bad it's a lesson I have to reteach myself every single time something new stresses me out... :)


  1. Never think what if :) believe me, just live :)

    1. I'm trying to learn to do this. It's just so hard. I want to be in control, even though I know how unhealthy that really is!

  2. I'm new here. I can't get enough of Shel Shilverstein, and Oh, the Places You'll Go, by Dr. Seuss. I also enjoy, Jack Prelutsky.

    Back to the whatif: I also suffer from the whatif syndrome; what if, my life had not been hard; my looks were those of a model; my parents had been the Cleavers, and I had been the dutiful, docile child? Boring! I like this post.