Monday, October 3, 2011

On Control

Does anyone else remember crispy M&M's? Because I do. And they were my favorite thing in the whole world...for about a month. Then I moved on to greater, more important things. Like obsessing over Star Wars: Episode 1-The Phantom Menace.

Still, I miss those things. When I saw the light blue M&M's package with the little orange M&M on it last year, excitement took my breath away.

Then I saw the word "pretzel".

Lame. Who on EARTH would want a salty pretzel in an M&M over a light, crunchy rice krispie?

My point is this:


Did I have any control over what consumers thought was a good idea or not?

Of COURSE not. I couldn't make Mars see that crispy M&M's were the greatest thing since Buncha Crunch.

So I moved on.

Why is it so much harder to move past things now that I'm older? There are a MULTITUDE of things that are out of my control. They are just TANTALIZINGLY on the outer limit of my circle of influence. And all I can do is STARE at these things and will them to take just TWO steps forward. Just a foot or two. That's all I ask.

We all know that the only result of obsessing over that which we can't control is varying levels of insanity.

I can't will someone to walk up to me and hand me a pamphlet entitled "This is your calling in life-Do it". No one is going to shove "the perfect man" into my path. There is no magical GPS that I can program to lead me to my desired destination the fastest and most convenient way possible.

At best I have a sketchy 5-year-old GPS device with spotty satellite reception and a grainy black and white display screen. 5 years in human years is like 50 years in technology years.

And has anyone told you how those 5-year-old GPS work? They don't. Not unless you are moving forward.

They can't tell you that you are on the wrong or right track unless you are following the right or wrong course.

What a PERFECT little analogy on life.

And so I must make the decision to focus on the things that I CAN control.

I can control my time: This is the month of production. This is the month of completion. The home stretch, the last leg, the final push, etc.etc.etc. And I will not spend it procrastinating those things which I KNOW I need to do.

I WILL have everything I MUST have done for Merryspring completed by the end of October. That way I don't want to rip my hair out my last two weeks. I can sit back and just watch them melt away.

Social Media and I have decided to take a break from each other. Good thing too. With the addition of Google+ in my life I was starting to feel a LITTLE pathetic. Thanks to inspiration given from little sister Kirsten and big sister Emily (as well as an inspired conference talk), I am working on my productivity. So goodbye Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for October, if not longer.

The one thing I am NOT giving up is Blogging. Because blogging is as much for me as it is for my small gaggle of diligent readers.

I can control what I eat: Thanks to the wonderful blessing of food stamps, I can continue to buy the more expensive, local, FRESH foods from local markets. And then use them to make amazing things to eat.

Like THIS.

(rosemary olive-oil bread)

And also THIS

ABC muffin (Applesauce, banana, chocolate chip)-made with whole wheat flour!

And grilled talapia with dill, onion, and a tomato cucumber dill vinegar relish. Or squash rings (it's that time of year and this IS going to happen this week)!!!!

I can also control my stress sweets eating. Kathy, one of the most wonderful blessings in my life, keeps making whoopie pies and cookies and cake! The most amazing baked goods ever! Did I mention she used to work at a bakery? Yeah. And I find myself making excuses to eat not one but TWO or THREE of her cookies or whoopie pies in a day. A couple times a week. Because I "deserve it" since work makes me unhappy.

No more.

I am giving up sweets for the month of October to prove to myself that I am once again in control of my craving for deliciously sweet, melt in your mouth baked goods. No more cookies, cake, whoopie pies, or candy.

EXCEPT (because I am not perfect and I do deserve a LITTLE something at the end of the day) a SMALL amount of dark chocolate at the end of the day. Eaten slowly with a piping hot mug of chocolate strawberry tea. It's the best part of my evening. And a perfect way to unwind while reading a book, writing a letter, or doing something ELSE away from the computer. (Or, you know, pinning/blogging/trying to stay caught up with all the new fall shows.)

P.S. Do NOT watch Terra Nova. For a complete list of reasons WHY please visit this blog.

Yes. I am in control of things in my life. Just not the things I WISH I were in control of.

That's where letting go comes in.

And you know what I love? The word committee. I love typing it! So many repeated letters!

Also-this is important:

"If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six sharpening my axe. - Abraham Lincoln"

Remember that. Sometimes sharpening your ax can be just as important as the work itself. With dull axes, nothing gets done efficiently.

On another note, fall is here. The trees are STILL hesitant to reveal their stunning new Autumn outfits. I'm not sure what's making them shy this year. I like to think it's because they are waiting for Mom and Dad to come visit.

But there is still obvious evidence. Like this:

(wonderful veggies from the garden. Some of the last)

And this:

(Thanks Em, for this sweet little gift from your garden)

As I walk the trails of Merryspring, I can literally smell the ripening apples as they are warmed by the elusive sunlight.

I go out of my way to crunch through paths of leaves on my way to and from work. People are already raking huge piles of the tree sheddings off their lawns.

As I drive here or there, I feel he familiar comfort of the heat coming from the AC system. And my music of choice is Coldplay, or Secret Garden.

I have discovered NEW sign of autumn. One that does NOT bring me joy (no it's NOT that constant rain. A rainy day can be joyful). It's the closing of the ice cream shops. Yeah Dairy Queen and Coldstone stay open. But who cares? All the little local HOMEMADE places are closing for the season! I guess it's good since I gave up sweets. But still. *teardrop*.

And guess what else? I have NO IDEA what I am doing with my life. Not a clue.

Only one thing is for certain. I'm going home. And that feels right and necessary. At least for a time.

After that? Gosh, I wish I could tell you. I wish I could even say "yep, grad school" or "definitely looking for work experience". I can't even tell you what I think I want to do with my life.

Because I suddenly find myself calling into question...well, EVERYTHING. My desire to get a masters, my wish to work in wildlife rehabilitation, getting a job along those lines...

Just...EVERYTHING. Everything I thought I had under control.

But I guess all I can do is focus on what I CAN control and what I know.

I know that I love being outdoors. To the point where when the outdoors and I are parted, I ACHE to stroll the woods and caress each passing leaf. I CRAVE the feel of the sun on my face and the scents of every passing season. I REVEL in touch of the breeze, the music of a stream, and the thrill of seeing a bird here, or a small woodland creature there-the connection you feel as you stare each other down, considering one another. And then move on, having shared but a moment. Give me mountains and hills, oceans and streams, fields and forests, for if I could have nothing else I would have these things.

I know I love teaching. There is nothing better than sharing what you are passionate about and inspiring even a tiny SPARK of that passion in someone else. To see the smile on a face as a new revelation dawns on them. To share an understanding with someone and inspire them to change or explore. It's almost as good as being outdoors.

I know I love cooking. I was wondering this morning why my palms were sore. Then I remembered that I had made 12 mini pot pies in muffin tins last night. I'd spent a good amount of time rolling out 24 little circles of pie crust for the tops and bottoms. With a tin rolling pin not suited for the job. All because I couldn't resist the taste of fresh cooked veggies, juicy chicken, savory gravy, and flaky crust perfectly combined in and individual sized pocket of wonderfulness.

Okay, so they aren't that pretty. But they were amazing.

I love music. And now that I have "The Rainbow connection", "Wild, Wild Party in the Loquat Tree", and "Green Waves" securely under my guitar belt, I can't wait to learn new songs.

I love writing and photography. Though I am not an expert at either, I would love to find a way to apply them both in my life (and get a better camera so I can take better pictures than the ones above).

So. I may not know many things for certain. But that doesn't mean that I can't try to control the things that ARE in my circle of influence.

I just need to keep moving forward. How ELSE is this ancient GPS going to led me to my destination and not into a lake?

1 comment:

Emily S. said...

How have I NOT ever heard that Lincoln quote before? It's AMAZING! I am not at all worried for you. The way you muse things out and sift through options and FEEL so deeply tells me.... you're gonna be completely okay. Whatever happens. because you are learning my favorite life lesson (one I am still learning, too)--- how to stop and enjoy the pieces of the journey that make up REAL LIFE. Like pot pies. And perfect songs. And hot tea and books. In the end, the little things ARE the big things. You'll be just fine. I love you.

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