One of the things I’ve noticed about myself is my ability to slip into lapses of control where I’m only vaguely aware that I’m no longer in control of what I’m doing. Perhaps a book, or internet site has captured my attention and is dragging me along for a ride. Perhaps I’ve gotten sucked into a video game and have lost track of an entire weekend. It is frustrating to me on the one hand and fascinating on the other. How can we get so involved with something that we let go of the one thing that can push us to excel? How do we get so involved that we lose control? We’ve all disappeared down the rabbit hole of Wikipedia before. There have been times in my life when I knew more control needed to be exerted. Here are some of my stories.
It was the start of 2017 when I found myself in a tailspin. Multiple aspects of my life had been thrown out of balance and it caused me to see the problems and the inherent instability of my entire way of living. I began to see my actions in a different light.
Work: I had been employed by a massive corporation for 16 years and hated it for about 15. My growing apathy had led the management of my group to make it impossible for me to remain employed. I’m guessing they were as relieved as I was when I quit.
How is it, you may ask, that I exerted control when it was the company that made it miserable to stay? Well, I wasn’t fired, I willingly chose to stop allowing myself to be treated poorly. I could have stuck it out until I got transferred to another group, or laid off, but I knew there was nothing left for me. It could be argued that both sides were to blame for what happened, but I now know that a team cannot operate when a member displays apathy for the process. Of course, when internal procedures make it nearly impossible to fire an employee the next best thing is to make them want to leave. So, I took the step I had been considering for 15 years and handed in my resignation. I took control of my working life.
My Addiction to Drinking: Around mid-March of 2017, about a week before I quit my job, I came to the hard realization that my drinking was out of control. I was effectively trying to kill myself with the amount I routinely consumed. I found the help I needed through a therapist and quit. Admittedly the first couple of weeks were tough, and there are those who believe I made it harder on myself by refusing to go to AA meetings, but I got through it and have remained alcohol free for about a year and a half. At first my ability to exert control over my drinking habit lay mainly in the terror I felt at returning to the state of being inebriated. I feared the utter loss of control being drunk brought on. Over the many months this fear has turned into conviction. It is this conviction that keeps me free of alcohol today.
Diet: This is the most recent (as of 7/5/18) aspect of my life that has required me to exert more than a small amount of control. I have recently changed to a vegan diet because of a series of blood tests. I was on a fast train to an early death and my blood seemed to be turning to sludge in my veins. Perhaps this is a bit of an exaggeration, but it helps me to make this massive lifestyle change.
These are only three examples of massive changes that I’ve made to my life. While the initial reasons for the changes weren’t to improve my sense of control, they’ve provided major learning experiences that will be used to help build this website and my ideas around control.
What aspect of your life would you like to have more control over? Income? Health? Quitting an addiction? Start a dialog in the comments section below.