When To Let Go Of Control

I’ve always been the one to hold the reins. Regardless of the task at hand, I try to have a say in how to get it done. Simply put, I like being in control.

If I can’t control something, I freeze up. Like a child first learning to walk; I lose my balance. Taking one step at a time isn’t how I work. Jumping in full-speed ahead and directing each and every little thing is how the heroes in the movies do it. So why can’t I?

Because I’m human.

This past week I boarded a nine-hour flight from London to Detroit. I had spent spring break with a study abroad program in London and the 30 of us were all huddled together, swapping stories from our trip. Though sad to see this one-of-a-kind experience end, I was anxious to get back to my home in Lawrence. I figured I could make it through another two hours of flying.

Waiting to board, we were informed our flight had been overbooked, and that several of us would have to stay behind and catch a flight the next morning. Red flags immediately flooded my mind. “I have a full day of class tomorrow.” “What if I miss pop quizzes?” “Will my group be upset if I miss our meeting?” These were just a few of the many questions I couldn’t help but ask myself.

I, along with four other girls, volunteered to stay behind and take the next flight out in the morning. I wasn’t happy about it, and I can’t imagine anyone really would be. But I had to remind myself it was out of my control. I was forced to accept that I could do nothing to alter the situation, and therefore, forced to change my attitude. The early flight the next morning ended up being a transfer to New York and then an additional three and a half hour flight to Kansas City.

I took the experience with a grain of salt, but mustered up the ability to smile at those trying to help me and understood that much was out of their control as well. It should be pretty obvious by now that things don’t always go our way. But yet we still manage to feel the need to control every situation in order to ensure they do go our way.

What are you trying to control in your life? Being in college, we are given so much independence, that it may seem we can always be in the driver’s seat. But once one little thing doesn’t go as planned, we come to a screeching stop. Give yourself some slack and, while you’re at it, give some to those around you as well.

We aren’t going to always be in control of every situation. I was stuck in a New York airport and the options I had were to a) wait until a later flight or b) drive a rental car home. Once I realized option B was useless seeing that I’m not 25, and therefore unable to rent a car, I decided to just suck it up and wait for the later flight. I’d get back home eventually. Looking around I overheard at least five other people who were in the same situation as I was. I quickly got off my high horse and enjoyed the enormous chocolate bar I had bought in London.

The pilot walked past me as I wiped the chocolate off my chin. “I’ll let him have the control this time,” I thought to myself. “I’ve never been too good at flying anyway.