Control freak


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I’m a planner. And as much as I would like to embrace exuberant spontaneity and be more like Jim Carrey’s character in “Yes Man” who takes on the challenge of agreeing to every opportunity that is presented to him, I’m more of a “not now” or a “let me think about it” person. I often respond with a tentative, “we’ll see.”

For me, I receive a great deal of comfort in predictability and having control (or at least having the illusion of control) over my surroundings and my future plans.

Following the unexpected loss of our baby almost two years ago, my need for control went into hyper drive. That experience certainly reminded me that I am NOT in control and outcomes are often unpredictable. That tragedy prompted me to seek as many ways as possible to feel in control and in charge. I planned my schedule and everyone else’s schedules in far more detail then normal. I kept lists for not only groceries, but for everything. I made detailed meal lists. I obsessed over the family chore list. I made lists for virtually everything and then I felt crushed when the best laid plans failed to play out as I envisioned.

I’m better now. I’d like to think I’m more realistic and more aware of my obsessive/compulsive need to be in charge. I hope my family would agree that I’ve tempered that character flaw of mine, but some days I would be afraid to ask for their opinions. I know, and my family knows, that I’ll always be a control freak to some extent.

I suppose that’s why my fifty-states goal is one I so readily embraced. It gives me the opportunity to have a goal that requires making plans, following lists (training schedules), and having control over whether or not I meet my stated goals. Every day I complete a scheduled workout or every time I get to cross one more state off my list, I feel an almost addictive sense of accomplishment.

Being injured and unable to run makes me feel out of control. Again.

I don’t know how long it will take me to recover. I don’t know when I’ll be able to start running again. I don’t know when I’ll be able to complete a race again. This experience is yet another reminder that I am NOT in control and I must have the humility and patience to let someone else be in control. I need to see how the next few weeks play out without forcing my will. For me, that’s asking a lot.


One response to this post.

  1. Such a hard lesson. I, too, am attached a little too often to being in control.


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