Illusions of Control

I wonder at times if we put more pressure on ourselves because of being widowed. I feel like I am always trying to keep everything running smoothly, as if since being widowed I just want life to operate as a well oiled machine with as few hiccups as possible. I guess that’s understandable... to want to avoid anything particularly surprising or messy after having been widowed. Sometimes it’s easy to think think that doing more, or being more organized or more productive is going to prevent more pain. Or somehow give you control over things that can’t be controlled - like death.

It’s odd for me that I do this, because I know it doesn’t work. Drew still died. And my life still fell apart. No matter how good my credit score was or how tidy my house was or how many ducks I could keep in a row. None of that mattered on June 12, 2012 when he died. It still all fell apart and none of that stuff I spent so much time on even mattered.   

I guess this is just some morning ramblings that I’m letting lead me along… I’m feeling like these words are reminding me to keep things in check. To balance and not overdo all the responsible stuff. To make sure that I am making as much of a priority in life for spontaneous, messy, and even *gasp* nonproductive things as I am for taking care of responsibilities. And that goes especially for the time spent with my now fiance, Mike. I think we are both guilty of focusing a lot of our energy on the responsible things, sometimes too much. Every so often, suddenly we look up, and we’ve been doing almost entirely responsible things for a bit too long and things start to feel out of balance.  

I’ve become quite expert at keeping things running smoothly these days. I have found a wonderful new man and we're getting married next year. Together we'll have over $50,000 of debt paid off next year. We haven’t used a credit card in almost 2 years. Our kiddo is healthy and doing well in school and has good friends. Things are not perfect, but we’re doing pretty well with what we’ve been given. 

Then last week, Mike calls me after work on his way home because he got in a wreck. It wasn’t a terrible one, and everyone was fine, but I don’t have to tell any of you where my mind went. What COULD have happened. How much WORSE it could have been. I know exactly how much worse. Still, it has been some unexpected stress for us at an already stressful time of year. I think that’s part of why these things are on my mind. That wreck was a bit of a reminder that I do not ever have control. All these ducks I’m keeping in a row are really just an illusion of control. While being responsible is important and caring about doing our best is important, it's also okay to put all that down sometimes. In fact, it's neccessary. I need to remember to respect that everything can be gone in an instant and to embrace a little bit more mess, silliness, and spontaneity each day - for myself and those around me.


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  • Marty Tousley, RN, MS, FT
    commented 2019-11-25 09:50:35 -0800
    A very important message, Sarah, especially at this “too busy” time of year. Thank you!
  • Kelley Lynn
    commented 2019-11-24 20:28:00 -0800
    Hell yes. Messy spontaneity creates the very best memories.
  • Linda Tevebaugh Keeling
    commented 2019-11-24 19:15:55 -0800
    Sarah… thanks….I really needed to be reminded to have more fun… chill time and to enjoy the “in the moment”moments…. need to look up more…..