Anxious about the Overdue Bill

I spent the weekend battling an anxious knot in my stomach because of this dentist bill showing $1194.00 as being overdue for over 90 days.

I was not aware of being behind on any bill, and if we had missed this one somehow, 90 days overdue could be damaging our credit.

However, there was nothing I could do until Monday morning anyway, so I reminded myself to “Keep calm and watch what happens.” (A mantra I came up with a couple years ago, which has been serving me well ever since.)

I chose not to worry. If we owe it, we owe it. (Accepted the worst-case scenario, but remained peaceful choosing to believe that the best possible outcome would be realized.) My husband felt the same.

Finally their office was open again.

I called the receptionist and calmly said, “I have this bill that came out of nowhere — I’m not aware of being behind on anything. The new parts look right, but I don’t know what this previous balance at the top of the page of $1304 is about.”

So the lady started digging around and asked me to wait while she looked into it.

I thanked her.

Within a couple minutes she returned and said the overdue part is an error. She said, “We switched systems and it transferred inaccurately. You only owe $119.”

So I paid the bill and thanked her for her help.

Whether or not this was already going to be the outcome, we are spared unnecessary stress when we remind ourselves to “Keep Calm and Watch What Happens.”

As Michael J. Fox puts it: “Don’t spend a lot of time imagining the worst-case scenario. It rarely goes down as you imagine it will, and if by some fluke it does, you will have lived it twice.”

UPDATE: I realized a lot of people have been quoting me with, “Keep calm and SEE what happens”, but to me that feels passive, fatalist… even bracing for disappointment. That’s why I always say “Keep calm and WATCH what happens” – because to me, that connotes more of an expectation that something amazing IS going to happen, and then it usually does. 😁


Leslie Householder
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