Coming from an abusive home, I learned very early how little control I had over my life. All kids have essentially no control because children have no rights and an abused child has even fewer rights. The only control children get is the right to beg, nag, or excel at a sport or in school. An abused child lacks even those minimal protections because an unstable parent can react in any number of ways to children, many of them violent and terrifying.
I grew up and as soon as I could, I moved out and stayed out. Not surprisingly, I married early because abused children are usually looking for a stable life situation — and to no one’s surprise, these early marriages do not usually last. They get outgrown. But the point is, by then I already knew how little control I had over my life. I understood that under a cool exterior can lie violence and cruelty. Later, I learned that simple good health was not within my control. I think I’ve spent almost as much time in the hospital and in recovery from some surgery or other than almost anyone else I’ve ever known.
Control is an illusion. Control is what we are sure we have over our lives until — out of the blue — our life takes a turn, hits a big rock, and slides into a ditch. Crash. All your firm beliefs that nothing can stop you doesn’t help because there are things — many, many things — that will stop you dead in your tracks.
I really love it when people tell me how nothing can stop them. Whatever they want, they can get it. All they need is to want it enough and keep trying. I never argue with people who talk like that. They believe it and who am I to argue? Personally, I’ve hit a lot of rocks and ditches. I’ve had my “life vehicle” battered to wreckage. I learned, painfully and slowly, there’s a time to put down the reins, let go of the steering wheel. Take a long look in the mirror and face your reality. Not the reality you used to have, but the reality you have today. Now. The real reality you live even if you have always gotten what you want. There comes a time to give up trying to control your world and go with the flow. To roll with life.
There’s no moral to this story. It’s just life. The only thing you cannot plan is a life over which you have 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. You can 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 control. You can view changes as a challenge or as a catastrophe. How you see them is up to you. Just don’t pretend the challenges aren’t there. That can be calamitous.
A real world is not the worst place to live. A human 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. Now. In this time and in this place.