You Can't Control Everything

For those of you that personally know me, you might think that my title is a joke. I’ll be the first to admit that I have been known to be a bit obsessive about controlling situations and having everything go a very specific way. But after venturing into a new phase in my life, I want to make an attempt at easing up on my meticulousness, and that starts with some realizations.


Clearly there are things in life that are beyond human control. What I have always tried to do in these situations is manage the response. Retrospectively I can see how doing this could make the situation worse. I, as well as many other people who share this quality, need to learn how to let a response happen naturally. Suppressing certain emotions and forcing others can be an exhausting process and won’t make life easier for me or for anyone involved. There shouldn’t be a plan for everything, sometimes it just has to happen on its own.


Certain surprises in life I can handle. Like for my third leap year birthday (12 in human years), my mother organized a surprise party for me. Perhaps I wasn’t as particular as I am now, but I embraced the surprise nonetheless and had a fun night with friends and family. Other unplanned events, however, can be serious and even more frustrating knowing that I can’t do anything about it.


Soon after moving into college, a loved one of mine became very ill. I know that there is nothing that anyone can do to prevent certain diseases like this one, but I am frustrated in knowing that I am over two hours away from her and I cannot help in any way. I want to be helping my family get through a time like this, I want to be home holding my relative’s hand, I want to do something. It’s situations like these that I can’t control which make me feel useless and frustrated. But it’s also situations like these that show me that it’s okay to not have control.


Change is hard for me to deal with. I guess it’s not completely accurate to say that because there are certain changes that I can manage. Moving to college, for example, hasn’t been too difficult to adjust to because I expected this change and planned for it. Other times, an unexpected change can really throw me for a loop being that there has been no preparation. Change is not bad, in fact it can be extremely beneficial and positive. I just need to learn how to appropriately cope, as I’m sure many people can relate.


Years ago I was stumbling around on the internet and happened across a quote from English philosopher Alan Watts. The words resonated with me and now I try to think about them from day to day. That quote is what I will leave you with, maybe inspiring others to change their relationships with change and control.