It be like that sometimes

My motto for letting go of the little things I can’t control

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I have a secret to share with you all. It’s something I’m not proud of and likely even my closest friends don’t know about me. I keep it well-hidden most of the time, so probably just close family members who have been around me for long enough know exactly what it is. Have I left you in enough suspense? Well here it is, world — I am a complete, list-loving, minute-watching, schedule-sticking control freak.

I plan everything out ahead of time. I put my MacBook clock in the seconds. I make a list before I undertake any sort of non-social activity. When I was younger, though, I’d plan out play dates down to the minutes. We’d play dolls for 30 minutes and then teacher for an hour. Then we’d eat a snack and my friend’s parents would probably arrive shortly after. My birthday parties always had an itinerary, and if something slipped up, a little part of me would probably spaz. My old piano teacher would always tell me I’d “rule the world someday” because my notes were always so neat and organized. It turns out it’s a lot harder than that to rule the world.

If you are my friend and you’re reading this, you may be surprised. I hope you’re surprised. My life is a constant battle between the attractive and irresponsible “go-with-the-flow” attitude, and the other neurotically organized one. I tend to emphasize the former. I do a pretty good job of keeping my obsessive-compulsive tendencies to myself, that is, in the evenly hole-punched readings of my Medical Anthropology binder and my neatly and squarely-spaced made bed every morning. For most social events, and things involving other people, I learned quickly after my first year that it’s mostly always easier to just go with it.

So that’s me. While I do take pride in my chill and drama-averse personality, the truth is I still have my complexities. Over the years, I’ve learned to scale back these tendencies, but one affinity remains — I always want to be in control of my own life. 

This is something I’ve really struggled with. Perhaps in another article I can dive deeper into the intricacies of this personal impediment of mine, but basically this part of my nature has driven me into not-so-great times. Around a time when college was particularly hard for me, my grades weren’t great, and other aspects of my life were spiraling, I became extremely anxious. I felt like I wasn’t in control of anything, and that was my personal nightmare.

I learned a few things from my introspection on this topic. First, I learned that it’s important to acknowledge your own shortcomings — for me, it was that I struggle with not feeling in control all the time. As a complement to this insight, I realized that it is almost impossible to be in control of every aspect of your life at once. That one was tough.

Of course I still struggle with this. There’s always going to be something in the way of me being perfectly in control of my situations. Right now, it’s the uncertainty of my future plans. This is a hard one to grasp. It is utterly unnerving to me that I have no idea where I’ll be, what I’ll be doing, or how I’ll be feeling a year from now when I’m outside the cozy confines of my undergraduate home. Other times, it’s more trivial things that get to me, like whether or not I think someone likes me. For these smaller problems, one of the most effective solutions came to me via a commonly used, and mainly satirical, one-liner that can be found on various social media platforms. No matter how much I try to know everything and be in control of my experiences and feelings, sometimes I need to remind myself that there are just some things that are out of my own control. In short: it be like that sometimes.

Athena Lee is a Life Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at life@cavalierdaily.com

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