Make Friends with Anxiety

Nothing in the affairs of men is worthy of great anxiety.


Anxiety. Everybody has it. Nobody loves it. Mel Brooks made a movie about it, High Anxiety (1977). W. H. Auden wrote a long poem, “The Age of Anxiety” (1947), set in a New York bar. Leonard Bernstein adopted Auden’s title for his Symphony No. 2 (1948). We are wallowing in anxiety, generalized, unfocused, nonspecific, and—our favorite term—free-floating, a kind of nervous cloud on which we depart the present in a sour mood for a place we’d rather not be. When we put the word anxiety into Google, we got 112 million hits in 0.07 second. That’s a lot of free-floating anxiety in cyberspace.


This chapter has twin themes ...

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