Loosing Control to Gain Control?
Sure, it makes no proper sense, but, I've found this to be entirely true for me. Lemme explain. In many ways I've spent a lot of my life trying to fit life into a certain structure. But...life has other plans and is wholly unable to be tamed into anything resembling your wishes. Letting go honestly helps me feel in better control of my life. But it's still an ongoing process and it's only a recent revelation.
I hate change and the unknown, though this has dissipated somewhat over the last few years. Especially recently. But I've always had this compulsion to know everything before I even begin anything. It's made just living life a bit difficult with all it's counter planning...
It started out innocuously, just wanting to plan things, get an idea of the lay of the land before doing things, but it turned into a desperate fear of the unknown. This fear was only defeated by meticulous planning. We're all supposed to have a plan in life. Go to college, get a job, get married, have kids, get a house, get a promotion, get a bigger house. The list goes on and on. Problem was, for me, that I wasn't truly sure what I wanted but I was supposed to be planning. I made a lot of good decisions that are still very in line with what I want in life, but, looking back, I wish I'd been given more space.
Space to sort out my feelings, my likes/dislikes, my wants. Space for my own thoughts away from everyone else's. Not that I didn't figure any of this out, I definitely did. But I'm dealing with so much baggage now because I let others think for me on multiple occasions. And, it's really hard to sort out, too. It's not like you don't want help from those that have gone before, but, if there isn't good and open conversations about the consequences and alternatives to decisions, especially the 'normal' ones, there isn't fully room to develop an honestly unique opinion.
When I talk about others thinking or deciding for me, there is more to it than just people. There are a lot of ideas, teachings and dogmas attached to every part of life. I've been sorting out some of mine recently and a good majority of them have come from the evangelical religion I grew up in. I still most closely associate with that form of Christianity, but I've done a lot of deconstruction. A big one for me was deciding to not have kids (that post is here).
The most exciting thing about cutting loose and going with the flow? I'm so much happier. I don't have to stress (though it is still there...) about new things. I totally enjoyed making, well starting, sauerkraut today. Previous me would have had a lot more trouble even starting that process. But current me has spent a few weeks thinking on it, and yes, some time planning, but it was appropriate planning. Then, today, I did the thing. Only thing I ran into was needing kosher salt not table salt. And I even went to the store BY MYSELF (I tend to make my husband go with me...because) to grab it, last minute too! Nothing too over the top, really, but I'm super proud.
Now I have a new process in my head for things. If I'm stressing about something I consider why I'm stressing, if it's a valid stress or can I just put it aside and live my life happier for it. And, boy, there are a lot of things that are just not important anymore.
Here's where I want to point out that this doesn't happen overnight; it's not easy. I know I've had many, many backsliding days where everything feels like it has regressed. It's hard to keep moving forward when you feel so hopeless for having messed it up...again. Thing is, there are always going to be good days...and bad ones. That's just how life works. No matter how you plan it, there is just no way to be happy 100% of the time. I've found that I can be a small but substantial portion happier by letting go of some of my scheming and living in my body, feeling the things I feel and enjoying the life I have while I have it.
Maybe you should just go with the flow, man?
—A Recovering Design Imposter
PS. I'm actually arting again! It's slow going, but I'm actually excited about it and many other things again. I've been told I was depressed; they might be right. Hindsight is 2020...