Control

There’s a line from the movie Jurassic Park that I never understood as a kid, and now I get it.  Laura Dern’s character says,”We never had control, that’s the illusion.” She says this at the point where a few of them are safe in the dining hall and the old man still has hopes for getting his “Jurassic Park” approved by investors to open to the public. Meanwhile, the dinosaurs have run amock and people are being eaten alive!

As a professional organizer, I’m all about control. I help people take control of their surroundings & schedules. Some might even call me a “control freak.” Although, I believe I’m a recovering control freak. Yes, there was a time in my life when everything in my home was neat as a pin, my schedule ran like clockwork and life was 95% predictable. Then I got married and had children. And with each little baby I had to relinquish the reigns of control a little more. You probably know some control freaks, or you may be one yourself.  And if you dig deep there is probably some dark catalyst in your past that made you this way. Maybe you grew up in a chaotic household. Maybe you had an addictive parent or a tragic childhood.  When this happens people naturally seek to control everything about their life that they can. And the crazier things get, the more anal-retentive control freaks become. I once wrapped every bit of spare change in my house into coin wrappers and put every loose picture into a photo album while recovering from a miscarriage!

Recently I learned that although I try to take control of my life, my home, my health some things just happen and we have to deal with them. Like it or not. A major illness takes priority for awhile and other things fall by the wayside. And that’s okay, we can get back to those minor agenda items eventually.

Because, what can we mere humans really control? Most gurus would say we can control what comes into our home, what we put into our mouths, what we put on our schedules, what we do for enjoyment or exercise, and who we associate with. But not always. Sometimes we have to take things into our home because we are taking in a loved one. And sometimes we are restricted as to what we can eat because of allergies, or diseases. And what we do for exercise or entertainment is certainly limited by our pocketbooks, our geography and again our physical make-up. And sometimes we are forced to associate with disagreeable people because of work, school, neighborhood or our kids’ friends.

Wow! If you think about it, we really can’t control much. We can make our choices and do our best on a day-to-day basis. We can plan ahead and think through the big decisions in our life. We can opt to be friends with happy and positive people and choose our activities wisely. Being organized can help with that. Organization is really just a delicate balance of making choices, planning what we can, having contingencies and then accepting what we can’t control and moving on.

So I encourage you to control what you can.  Plan out your “to do’s”, your meals, your spending. Control your environment so it is efficient, peaceful and conducive to productivity.  Even if it’s just for today.

Do you have a loss of control story? Or would you like to come out as a control freak? I’d love to hear your story!