I wanted to compose a piece today on the concept of control and what happens to our psyches when we feel as if we have none. The emotions invoked during times of a loss of control or what we see as diminished decision making power seems to send us down a rabbit hole leading to an inevitable existential crisis. What I have come to learn is that without even realising it we create results and outcomes in our minds for what we expect from our lives. These are usually tied in with supposed wants and desires unwittingly tinged with societal expectations. When these fail to come about we feel as though the ground has caved in underneath us.
The emotional turmoil involved risks a level of spiralling in which we begin to question everything in our lives. We wonder how it could be possible for life to deviate so far from the ‘right path’ for us. We question and resist to the point where we make ourselves physically ill, all the while having no way of truly knowing what is actually destined or best for us.
When I was younger I dreamed of so many things for myself. Most included imaginings of a loved one, a family of my own all balanced with a thriving career. But looking back, I realise that I didn’t really know myself well enough back then to predict such things. The direction that I had envisioned for my life was based on socially ingrained norms and perverted expectations around materialism, ‘coupledom’ and supposed life ‘norms’. What’s obvious now is that I had already pigeon holed my path in life. I’d narrowed the parameters of possibility and given myself absolute tunnel vision without even realising it.
I went on the search of spiritual guidance during a particularly difficult juncture point last year. I was told at that time that my life would take a 180 degree turn and things would change drastically within a very short period. Upon hearing this I remember thinking ahead towards what this would look like. Of course I envisioned receiving my dream job, getting an ongoing and prestigious writing gig, finding my soul mate and just floating through life. I’m pretty sure I also thought winning the lotto was in my destiny…! It’s not difficult to decipher here that not one of these things has happened, and yet my life has changed drastically in the time since hearing this prediction.
It definitely has not changed in the way I would have thought; it’s probably the complete opposite of that in actuality. All of a sudden I have moved into a different home, with different surroundings, my family are relocating without me, my professional life has turned upside down and I’m scheduled for a secondment next year to somewhere completely unfamiliar to me.
A few days ago I thought about the concept of this ‘positive’ change and remember expressing utter horror at how little this has eventuated into. However with time to reflect I now realise that all of this has in fact come into fruition, just not in the way I had initially anticipated. The change I foresaw was a constricted version of what I thought I wanted for myself at that time. I’ve since come to understand that what I want and I what I need are most probably two entirely separate things.
My life has definitely changed significantly. Yes it has left me feeling unstable and fearful of the unknown but surely no point of growth can occur when we are just comfortable. Real change and development does not go to plan, just as life doesn’t. So what if instead of projecting our desires forward and resisting when these aren’t met we opened ourselves up to the possibility of the unknown. While discomfort is a given, perhaps we could channel this emotion into hope for the future and a willingness to adapt instead of dread.
For me personally looking ahead to next year is one of the scariest things imaginable. So much of what I had previously held on to, known is shifting. I am going to be thrown completely out of my comfort zone and tested in ways which I have never experienced before. But maybe instead of looking forward with angst, fear and trepidation I could open my mind up to the possibilities.
Perhaps I could be brave. Perhaps I could admit that yes things are not going according to what I had previously planned, but maybe that was never meant for me in the first place. Maybe I could shift a feeling of purported loss of control, the cracking of the path in front of me to the opportunity to rebuild and pave a different trail. One which is unfamiliar and unknown, but one of my own making towards the unique adventure that my future has to hold.