It’s fitting that this is my first 30F30 – considering my intent was to start doing these on the first of September; and then on the 9th of September, and then on the 10th of September…and here we are on the 16th of September. But hey…You can’t control what happens. (#studentlifetime?) Regardless…
Life can suck. It’s true. There’s no reason to beat around the bush on that topic – and I don’t think I’ve ever met (or will ever meet) a person who hasn’t experienced their fair share of challenges. We all navigate this world hoping for the best but occasionally wind up experiencing the worst – some of us are lucky enough to not experience as many bad things as others, but the fact of the matter is nobody is immune to unpredictability and the forces of chaos that exist in this world. Don’t fight it – try as you might, you can’t control what happens in life.
I’m a bit of a hypocrite for proclaiming this (and maybe a bit more of one for making it my first 30F30; as mentioned above – hey I’m owning it), I navigate my life on constant high alert for the unexpected and uncontrollable in a futile effort of control over my daily experience; but in the end, life wins out. This isn’t a fate thing, or a pre-destiny thing. I put little stock in the suggestion that our existence already written, and am a firm believer that we chart our own course in life. Rather it’s an acknowledgment that you are awash in a sea of variables trying to navigate your path through the world – and that there’s some beauty in that chaos.
You could fall madly in love with someone only for them to flutter their eyes in the other direction. You could eat healthy every day of your life and still find yourself with an incurable disease. You can want and not get. You can be surprised, and shocked, and tickled pink by life’s ebbs and flows and in the end the amount of control we have over how any of that plays out over long term is statistically insignificant.
That might seem depressing; and certainly the thought of not being able to have a say in how all my life’s events turn out can (and still is) a tough pill to swallow – but thirty years on this planet has taught me that inside the insecurity and frustration – it’s actually really quite beautiful. How we deal with the unexpected challenges in life and our reactions to the detours created in the turbulence and uncertainty of the world we live teach so much more about ourselves then nearly anything else we could experience. The unexpected shows us what we value. It holds a mirror up to us and reminds us to appreciate, and enjoy the present. It keeps us grounded and reminds us of who we are and what our priorities are. In the same way roads are built with bends and turns to keep you from losing focus – the unexpected twists and turns of life are there to keep us paying attention to the road ahead.
I’ve learned (and continue to learn) to relax and acknowledge that a lot of life is simply out of my control – that the only REAL thing I can control is my reaction to it. In that acknowledgment comes a focus of what really matters to me. The People. The Experiences. The Moments andMemories. Nothing in life is certain except these things – and when you get caught up in trying to turn into the spin you lose focus on the things that mean the most.
Celebrate your fear and anger, and sadness, shock caused by life’s occasional spin-out. Celebrate that moment when something caught you by surprise. React, learn, and feel – your reaction is valid; but don’t get caught up in trying to dictate the path your life is taking; because if you spend too much time looking at the map, you’re going to miss out on the scenic view through life’s twisty-turny road.