I am a naturally anxious person. I worry about everything. When I was fourteen I worried about losing my hair. Years later, still with plenty of hair, I worry about going grey. I have had just about every illness there is, or rather, I have convinced myself, at some point, that I've had every disease know to medicine and a few known only to veterinary science.
Worrying is the ultimate distraction. It's what I do when I'm not hungry, or cold, or wet, or tired.
I worry about my going deaf, going blind and losing my mind. I am not a passive worrier though - I will read medical text books, trawl every internet site to confirm my worries. I will eat the right things, drink the right things, exercise, cleanse my body of toxins and fill it with anti-oxidants.
I worry about leaks, bills, missing appointments, rusty hinges, people, mice, loose tiles, my collapsing shed, the central heating, getting up, going to sleep, tomorrow, next week and next year.
I am a sceptic too. I may worry about eating the right foods but won't believe the people who are telling me what I should eat. I won't listen to experts.
And so it is with global warming, the future energy crisis, and the end of the universe. The sceptical me will deny anyone can know anything for sure.
Worrying passes the time. It gives the wide awake brain something to do. Hating Sudoku and all other forms of solitary amusement, worrying is a great time waster.
Working is a good time waster too. Do it for long enough and you can make money out of it. I've looked for employment as a worrier, but there aren't that many openings. Instead I would find any job, turn up at nine, settle in and worry about doing the job properly until it was time to go home.
Now I am worrying about my book. I used to worry that I would never be published. I found a publisher. Then I worried that my publisher would change their mind. They didn't. Then I worried my book wouldn’t appear in the shops.
Worrying is quite productive, though. I channel it into writing, or sketching out new ideas for books. I don't just sit around and worry. I'm not a slacker. I am an industrious worrier.
Between worrying I've been reading "The User Illusion" - a wonderful, rambling book about consciousness. And it makes this point: if we compare the amount of information going into our brains with the amount we can hold in our consciousness at any one time, it is about a million to one. A million times more information flows into our senses than we know what to do with. Our little wide awake selves spend all our time trying to decide which tiny bits of information to deal with. And yet, meanwhile, our unconscious self deals with the rest.
So here's my solution: I'm going to let my unconscious deal with everything. I'm going to let it do the worrying. My conscious mind is going to get all the fun. I'm going to fill it with colour and music and tastes and smells. There won't be any bandwidth left to worry.
I just hope I will still manage to get things done. Do you think I will? Do you? Will I?