And so the question is:
Control is an illusion. It’s what we all believe we’ve got until our life takes a sharp turn and hits a big rock or slides into the ditch. Crash.
All of your firm beliefs that nothing can stop you doesn’t help because there are things — many things — that can stop you.
I love when people tell me nothing can stop them, that whatever they want, they can get it. All they have to do is want it enough. I don’t argue with people who talk like that. They believe it and who am I to argue?
I’ve hit a lot of rocks, ditches, sharp turns. I’ve had my “life vehicle” battered to wreckage. I learned, painfully and slowly there is a time to put down the reins, look in the mirror and face reality. Even when it isn’t what you want. There comes a time to give up trying to control your world and go with the flow. To find a better path.
Your perfect, beautifully controlled life can turn upside-down in a split second. For others, it’s slower. For me, it was at the pace at which bones and joints calcify. I refused to pay attention to the wreckage of my spine. It was mind over matter. I was strong. I could make it work, no matter what.
Good idea. But mind-over-matter only takes you so far. Major life changes do not happen in an afternoon. True they can occur in one messy crash … or they can take over bit by bit over decades. I found a great doctor who told me something I had heard before but had hoped there was another answer.
He said: “Your back has got you through this far. It’ll take you the rest of the way. Pain control, gentle exercise. Recognize your limits. Don’t do anything stupid. No car crashes. No falling. No lifting.”
No horses, no hauling. Got that. And of course, this was before all the heart surgery, which further eliminated the likelihood of any of these perilous activities. So. I’m not doing anything stupid.
Okay, I’m not doing anything very stupid. Maybe only a little stupid. And nothing that will break anything that isn’t already broken.
There’s no moral to this story. It’s life. If you don’t die young, you will get old. Which means unless you are exceptionally lucky, parts of you will hurt. Whether or not you are in a position to help fix the hurt with surgery, exercise, physical therapy, or medication? It depends on what’s wrong.
The only thing you cannot plan is a life over which you maintain full control. No one gets that.
We all have some control, but ultimately, no one has full control. Ever.
When life throws you a curve, you have a choice. Spend your time fighting for something you can’t be or do — or with a bit of grace, find your way to being whoever you are now, in this time and place.
Not winning all the battles doesn’t have to be tragic. That is where you have some control. You can view changes as a challenge or as a catastrophe. How you see them is up to you. Pretending they aren’t there can be calamitous.
Reality is not the worst place to live. Life is full of weirdness, lies, and illusion, but going face-to-face with the truth can be uplifting. You don’t have to give up living. You do have to learn to live a life that works. For you.