I’m just going to own up to the fact that until I started prepping this post, I had no idea what “The Remedy (I Won’t Worry)” was really all about. I remember it being a big hit for Jason Mraz in the summer of 2003. I probably downloaded it from Kazaa or something, but I do know that I eventually bought it as the copy I got illegally was of pretty shitty quality. I always liked the sentiment of the song, although I wasn’t always the best at following the advice set out in the song. What can I say? I was young – early 30s, man! – and if you can’t look back on yourself from 10 years ago and see that you were kind of douchey, chances are you still are.
As it turns out, “The Remedy (I Won’t Worry)” was written by Jason Mraz for his friend, Charlie Mingroni, who had been diagnosed with cancer. It makes sense. The lyrics fit that situation perfectly. A dirty old disease, the comedy is that it’s serious, what kind of god would serve this, I won’t worry my life away. The good news is that Mingroni is doing well, having beaten his cancer into remission and is ten years in the clear. I like to think that this song played at least a little part in that battle.
To me, though, this song perfectly embodies the ideal reaction to my own dirty old disease – anxiety.
In my defense, when this song came out, I was so far from ready to own up to my anxiety it wasn’t even funny. But all these years later, there are many, many days of my life where I will silently say to myself “I won’t worry my life away” when I’m tempted to surrender to the fucked-up comfortable familiarity of feeling anxious and helpless. As Mraz says, that worrying, it all amounts to nothing in the end.
The comedy of anxiety is that it’s serious, but it’s so based on nothing real. That really is kind of funny when you think about it. We all know that feelings aren’t facts, so that should help right? I know what all my triggers are and I do my best to not put myself in situations that I know will cause an acute increase in my anxiety, but one of the things that I have learned most recently is that sometimes, I have to put myself in those situations that will make me anxious. Feeling the anxiety and working though it is sometimes the best cure. It’s not that I think it’ll kill me or that something horrible will happen if I feel anxious about something. Rather, it’s more about getting myself more comfortable with it and not being afraid of it. The remedy is the experience. It’s a dangerous liason, but on just the right occasions, it’s worth it. Even now, I can think of so many situations that used to cause me a great deal of paralyzing anxiety that barely register as a blip on my radar.
I sent this song to my daughter because as someone who also battles a significant amount of anxiety, I thought she could use the sentiments expressed in this song. So far, I’m not sure it has resonated with her despite my best efforts, even though she’s loves another of his songs “I Won’t Give Up.” Maybe she’s not ready for it yet, or maybe she’s already past the mindset offered up by Mraz’s clever turn of phrase. If so, she’s a lot further along on her journey than I was at 13 years of age.
I’m not a huge fan of Mraz’s music otherwise – I like a few songs here and there, but a little bit of him goes a long way for me. I’ll always have a soft spot for “The Remedy (I Won’t Worry)” because it taught me that I’ve gots the poison AND I’ve gots the remedy.