Saturday, April 21, 2012

Explore. Dream. Discover.


I am really struggling with control this week. Actually, I struggle with it every single day of my life, just this week it's been a particularly rough battle. I am clearly a dominative type A personality. I am particular and picky. I like things to always live up to my incredibly high standards. If my comfort level isn't riding at a perfect 12, I'm not a very nice person. I expect everyone to work as hard as I do and care as much about the details. I hate inequality and love fairness. I like for the good guys to always win and the bad guys to suffer appropriately. I'd rather do everything myself than delegate. I prefer to have a schedule and stick to it. I generally expect that things will go my way, or whatever way I would have them go.

Not all of these things are bad qualities when in the right context. In many cases they have gotten me a job or award, an A+ paper or scholarship, or simply a compliment. But from day to day I struggle constantly with letting go of control. And being "OKAY" with it.

If you're married, plan to be, or are in any kind of committed relationship you probably know that my kind of personality is difficult to live with. Mr Spouse is a real trooper. He has apparent infinite forgiveness and tolerance. Even at that, sometimes I'm just TOO MUCH.

I'm not blind or deaf or senseless in any way. I see this about myself. I hear myself make demands or criticize choices I wouldn't have made. I can sense when I have gone too far and when I need to stop talking and back away. But being a controller is like other disorders or addictions. It isn't always so easy to stop even though you know you should.

This week I have completely stressed myself out over the stupidest things. I went to pick up my prescription from the pharmacy but it hadn't been called in: clearly SOMEONE wasn't doing their job. My time was wasted and my doctor was at lunch so now I have to make a second trip. Mr Dog has fleas. Not only that, he's highly allergic to them and scratching the shit out of himself and biting his legs bald. No matter how many flea baths I give him, etc, we're still infested. The house is dirty. I cleaned it yesterday. Where does all this dirt come from? I must be doing something wrong. My house doesn't look like the houses I see on Pinterest! Why can't Mr Spouse wipe off the countertops after making breakfast? It takes two seconds! We overspent in March and are still catching up on payments. Why can't I figure out what the hell I'm doing with my life so I can get out there, start my dream career, and be rolling in cash?

And that's just a very small taste. You know the number one reason I hate going to the grocery store? Because I can't control all the "I stop in the middle of the damn aisle with my hugely overloaded basket and check my iPhone or have a chat with someone I haven't seen in months, inconsiderately holding up a line of people on a mission behind me" instances that drive me wildly insane. This week I was so on edge I couldn't stop imagining scenarios where I did crazy shit like grabbing said iPhone and hurling it into the frozen meat bin. Or just unloading on the friends who had to catch up in the middle of the canned goods section, movie-style. Angry much? Not being in control makes controllers very angry. Sometimes irrationally angry.

There is a part of me that I feel dies a little bit each time I imagine us throwing a few belongings into our car and spending our meager savings traveling around the country, living out of our vehicle, before I stifle that dream under the biggest pile of responsibility known to man. The controller in me goes into full cardiac arrest. Do what?!?! Spend our savings? Quit our jobs? Have NOTHING stable to rely on?  And then I wonder... When did I become such an ADULT? (And I imagine myself saying this out loud with deep revulsion in tone when I hit that hideous word..."adult."). When did consequences become more important than experiences? When did I start to worry about stability where I used to look for spontaneity?

There were a lot of questions in that paragraph. I can't really answer any of them. It happened so gradually, like that extra 5 lbs we put on every year, that I'm just now realizing: I'm trying to sail my ship but I can't leave the port. I have no idea where it's going, what I'm doing, or how to get there. I can't control everything that happens to me and make my life perfect. I don't know what perfect is or what would make me happy. I'm still exploring. I've just gotten lost in this dreaming phase and haven't made any new discoveries for a while..... Probably because I can't let go. I can't stop trying to control all the variables around me. I can't stop.

I guess that's why they tell you to leave it all up to the man upstairs.

Twenty years from now you'll be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover
- mark twain

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