I had an epiphany a couple of days ago while walking to the subway stop on my way to work. It really did feel like an epiphany. The thought seemingly dropped from the clouds and landed in the front of my brain. Of course, in true Universe fashion, a few moments followed throughout the week that completely solidified it.
Before I go through the epiphany… let me give you a little background. I really like to be in control. Maybe a little too much. But, for better or worse, feeling “out of control” is one of the worst feelings for me. I don’t like surprises. Plans and punctuality are two of my best friends. I also have a little bit of a problem when it comes to trusting other people, but I’ve definitely made some strides in this department over the past couple of years.
Frankly, I feel much happier when I feel in control. But lately I had been feeling like I wasn’t in control of anything. I felt like I was on a treadmill going full speed and couldn’t find the button to slow down or to even stop the stupid machine. I was growing frustrated as I felt the treadmill increasing speed– steadily, but increasing.
I woke up at 5:05 per my usual morning routine. (Oh yea, I like routines!!!) After showering, I got in bed…. in my robe… and got some emails answered. I finally went back into the normal swing of things, ….In the back of my mind I was thinking about all these things that I felt like I wasn’t in control of. The thoughts– as thoughts do– grew. And continued to grow until they had a life of their own.
It wasn’t until I was turning the corner to enter the subway station that it dawned on me.
I seriously was in control.
I wasn’t happy with what I was doing, but it was me that was doing it! I did feel better for the thirty feet to the subway knowing that (yay!) I actually was in control. During the 16ish minute ride to 14th street though, I was working through the process of how I needed to be happy with my decisions, or else figure out a way to change them.
1) Do I love what I do on my blog? YES.
2) Am I getting the experience I need (and want) from my (amazing) job? YES.
3) Do I like spending time with my friends here in the city? YES.
3a) Is it worth sacrificing a few hours every night to just hang out? Duh.
4) Is meeting new people and new companies worth the extra time and energy? YES x 498372.
5) Are all of my side projects things I really want to do? YES.
Once I took inventory of this, I realized how I was letting my control issue dictate the way I felt about L I F E. Oh-so-wrong approach.
Growing up, I always felt like I had to do things. I had to do X because it “looks good on a resume.” I had to do Y because my parents expected me to. I absolutely had to do Z because my professors required it. The school gave me no option but to take the ten “required” (but utterly uninteresting) classes to graduate.
Once I graduated I felt completely liberated. I turned down job offers that weren’t “me.” I could move to any city in the world that I wanted to. (That alone was the best feeling, even though I couldn’t picture myself anywhere by NYC!) I could pick one of my favorite but back-burnered hobbies of painting back up and travel the world as a starving artist. I could bootstrap the company I’ve always dreamed of running. I could get married and start a family.
I took control and did exactly what I wanted to do. But over the past few months, the routine has become…. well, routine. (That’s the funny thing about routines…) And that’s when I let everything start to get to me. I twisted the truth in my own head and let it affect me.
My rigidity can be a little much. I hang on to systems, best practices, numbers, and routines like a religion. But, at the end of the day, it’s me. My personality. My internal wiring. And if something is really not working, I can change that. Because, after all, I’m in control.
With all of that on the table, there were a couple of things that I had been pointing fingers elsewhere that really ended up swinging right back to me. (Point your index finger and three fingers point back to you! Eep!) I can’t go into the specifics, but I’ve set some systems to remedy this and with two days under my belt, I feel REMARKABLY better.
Have you ever felt “out of control” in a situation, only to find out that you really were in control the whole time?