Postal Paper = Insane Roller Coaster
As my key turned the pins within the lock the door cracked open. And a tiny, powerful piece of paper fluttered to the floor. With it went my heart and the beginnings of an insane roller coaster in my mind. What kind of paper could hold such power over me, you wonder? It was a notice of a certified letter. A letter that had to be delivered directly to me or picked up at the post office. I know, crazy right?!
The insane scenarios and complete demise of my life flashed before my eyes too! Wait, what? A notice of a certified letter doesn’t strike fear in your heart? Better question here, why did it strike insane fear in mine? This experience brought back another memory. Stirred up another time where that fear of being “in trouble” occurred.
I had this boss that would put three dots in the subject line of every email he sent to me. To make matters worse, he would simply write in the body of the email – “please come see me.” As I demonstrated with my earlier story, I had the propensity to always assume that I was in trouble for something I had done wrong.
Those emails would fill me with an insane sense of dread. I would begin to run numbers in my head as if I was going to lose my job. Why did I always go from 0-100 on the insane train of guilt? I was for better or worse, probably to an extreme fault always trying to do the right thing, keep people around me happy.
Inevitably, when I tracked my boss down and found out what the email was about, it was something innocuous like formatting an Excel spreadsheet or discussing some scheduling conflicts. I would repeatedly tell him that putting those three dots in the subject line sent me into a tailspin. I would mention if he could simply add, “not a big deal,” it would make my life easier.
His reaction was usually to chuckle and gently usher me out of his office. He had no understanding that my need for control was consuming my life. When I had control, I had comfort, because I was unable to find comfort within myself.
I could never understand why he would continue to add those three dots to every subject line he wrote me in the four years that we worked together. It never occurred to me that he didn’t live in that same controlling environment that I was a voluntary prisoner of.
With all the turmoil that has happened over the past year of my life it has become blatantly clear to me that you can’t control what is going to happen in your future. You can simply make the choice at each and every crossroads you come to that will lead you on the best path forward. That choice may turn out to be the wrong choice, but at least you made it for yourself.
The choices I’ve made in my past, I was always making with others in mind instead of myself. As I continue to write, through my books and my blogs, several things have become my new mantras. Hindsight is always 20/20, you always have a choice, and no matter how hard you try, you cannot control what happens in the future.
Case in point, the year 2016. That was the hardest year of my life. I thought I had things mostly under control. Looking back now, I see I reached some of my darkest points. Points that I am just beginning to see I had hit. It’s encouraging to know that I’m making my way out of those dark points and stepping back into the light.
I am taking positive steps forward to heal myself and to try and pass my message of happiness and choice on to others. Getting here was not easy, and is certainly far from over. I spent a lifetime trying to control the uncontrollable and look what happened in my life. One of the worst case “what if” scenarios to experience, divorce and the shattering of my family and my life’s very foundation.
Striving For Success But Finding Failure
I was desperately striving for success but was only setting myself up for failure. I thought that in order to be happy I had to follow the normal, acceptable path of mainstream society. Getting married, buying a house, rescuing a dog, popping out some kids and securing a stable routine job in a stable routine town.
I thought that if I achieved all these goals, goals that were not mine but society’s then happiness would be reached. Can you guess what happened after I checked each one of those boxes off my bucket list? Nothing. Completion of those goals came and went and I still felt empty.
The realization that my goals were not really mine devastated me in two ways. On the one hand I stupidly, desperately, pathetically hoped they would bring me happiness. On the other hand, I honestly, truly, ignorantly believed that achieving those goals would ensure that nothing bad would ever happen.
Control Is An Illusion
Can we all focus on the irony in that last statement, and hence, my demise? Trying to control my life did not prevent something I spent every waking second trying to avoid. It inevitably led to me doing it to myself. My life got out of control and consequently, bad things were happening in my marriage and my soul but I am still here.
I survived the lowest low and have come out on the other side. Can I let you in on a little secret? I am discovering through this journey that the unpredictability in life has forced me to find comfort and strength within myself. There was nowhere else to look. I started to believe in my choices even when they went against what other people may have thought or wanted me to do.
These pieces of strength and knowledge are what I hold on to when my new foundation begins to waver. When I look at the future I see an unknown blur however this is no longer gray or scary. It is exciting and new and potentially amazing!! No one knows what’s going to happen, no matter who you are. All we can do is prepare and make the best choices moving forwards. What choices can you make moving forward to put yourself on your way to happiness?