I find myself in an unusual position tonight. I’m ill-prepared for my trip in a way that I’m usually quite over-prepared for, to the point of anal-retentiveness. It’s odd, for me. But oddly familiar too. I’ve found myself in this unprepared position more often than I would care to think about these days. It’s emotion, man. Nobody can prepare for it.
I’m on a plane. Flying to the East for a few business days and then flying home. Normally I bring at least one charger for my iPhone, but more often I bring two. Just in case. In case I lose one. In case one stops working. I depend heavily on my phone when I travel. I’m also usually very, very careful about making sure the phone is fully charged before a flight. And here, my dear, is where I find myself utterly unprepared.
You see, I had phone calls this morning. Errands to run. Texting to do. Then I raced home and finished packing with NO time to spare. I grabbed the iPhone lightening plug adapter off the docking station, (and then promptly put it down again . . . somewhere), I grabbed the old charger (that must be used with the adapter) and when I got in the car my stepdad grabbed the black, newer, charger and I handed it to my mom in the backseat to put in my purse. But on the way to the airport someone stopped short and I had to slam on my brakes and things flew forward. I’m willing to lay money on the fact that my black, newer charger is currently laying on the floorboard of my car. Grr. Gnash.
So, here I am, on a plane. 30% power on my phone.
I need good power to my phone. It is a need. I need to text a few people to confirm my safe arrival. I need to use the GPS on my phone to take me the 45 minute drive from the airport to the hotel. I need my phone for my alarm in the morning. I need my phone, in short, to be connected with my life. Because, I need my people right now. I need to know that I HAVE people. At this time, especially.
I can’t help thinking that this is a metaphor for my life right now. The “plan as much as you want but I’m going to throw you a curveball you never expected” part of my life. Which is nearly all of it, to be honest.
When I sat down with my husband in the Spring and said, look, I think we need to separate and this is why, and this is what I think should happen next, a funny thing happened. Nothing went according to my plan. All my little miniatures in my Lego board of life did not move where I wanted them to move or do what I wanted them to do. I need to learn that I can’t plan someone else’s emotional response. DUH. That seems basic.
I recognize I have a need to control things. It’s why I don’t do drugs, and never have. It’s why I drink very little. I can’t stand feeling out of control. I also realize I have a need to plan extensively for ALL OF THE THINGS. This ties nicely with the control issue; the more I plan the more I can control the outcome.
Someone recently said to me, “You have to know everything.” Meaning, I have to always be in the know. I wrote that down and I carry that note with me. I’ve been contemplating it. Yes, I know that I always want to know about the things I want to know about. (Follow that?) If it’s something or someone I care deeply about then, yes, I need and want to know. But there are many, many things I could give a rat’s ass about and absolutely do not need the details.
So how do I find a happy medium? How do I let go enough to accept not knowing what I absolutely don’t need to know?
Need to know, need to know. I want to know. It’s like the Cate Blanchett role from Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. At the end she’s saying “I vant to know! I vant to know!” and she taps into the aliens brains and she just completely disintegrates. Isn’t that always the way? (I sure hope that last part doesn’t end up being a metaphor for my life as well).
My life is in such a state that I’m paralyzed by my inability to plan. My actions are dictated by others right now. Dictated by one driving force: emotion. I’m playing defense and I surely wish I was playing offense. Though I’m using a sports analogy, it’s not a competition. Not by a longshot. I’m trying to relieve the pressure, the pain, the angst by not being on the offensive. I’m consciously letting things unfold and only playing defense when absolutely required. But I have a feeling that this isn’t working to my benefit. Not even remotely.
If only all those little Lego miniatures would have done what I asked. If only they had gone the way I needed them to go. But it’s not a game, or toy. It’s life. Life is messy. It’s real. It’s unpredictable. I can plan all I want but there’s this little thing called emotion that, I think, can both flatten cities and cause widespread devastation. At the same time, it can build gorgeous bridges, transport people to a higher plane of being, and it’s our DAMN REASON FOR LIVING.
Emotion. It’s no joke. People need people. They just do.
P.S. Be kind to each other.