What we can’t control

I wake up with yesterday’s thoughts pulling me into awareness. I forgot to call my friend again. Did I remember to pay the bill for the sprinkler system? There are expired eggs in the refrigerator. Are my children happy? Is there enough cat food? Have there been any bombings?

I gently stretch my legs while still lying in bed. I politely inquire of them, “Can you run again today? What can I offer that will make you more amenable?” I check the time. It is 9am. It might already be too hot this morning to address yesterday’s food sins with a run outside. In Texas, in the summer, food sins must be addressed early in the day due to excessive heat. We jokingly talk about it being a “dry heat”, but hot is still hot.

Even at the exact moment of enjoying extra chips or a few more chocolate kisses I am aware of the future price that must be paid. I am always a few calorie points behind in this endless solitary game of calorie intake versus calorie expenditure. Falling behind on my personal score means I will have to carry the burden of late night snacking onto the running path.

This morning in addition to calorie burdens, I am carrying additional personal burdens. The first burden has to do with the success of this past night’s sleep being due to just a small sliver too much of Ambien. Not enough to harm, just enough to guarantee that certain lurking thoughts will not follow me into sleep. I seek the balance between a total blackout of thoughts and the ability to wake up feeling alert the next morning.

Mission semi- accomplished last night. I mostly slept, and I am awake early enough to think about running. Plus, I virtuously cleaned my closet yesterday. After I finish stretching and conversing with my legs I will go and look at my newly created serene closet space. Today I have the opportunity to wear new clothes that had been hidden among items older than my aging cat. The incredibly large sizes of pants of the past have been relegated to the donation bag. The equally incredibly small sizes of past pants have been set aside. If I can just get out and run, I might enjoy wearing them again someday. Although judging from my increasingly difficult effort to balance calorie intake and expenditure, I might change my mind and donate the small pants and accept the inevitable need for the larger size instead. Still, the closet is organized. I took control. It is subdued.

The closet cleaning and Ambien dosing were both motivated by the same thing. A global feeling of disquiet.

There are things happening in the world. Bad things. Worrisome things. The human race is inflicting deep and lasting wounds upon itself. There is distrust, dislike, and lack of acceptance of anyone who is different. Anyone who looks, thinks or believes differently. We insult each other, with words and weapons. Both openly and anonymously. These injuries are everywhere.

I know I am lucky. I live in a place where I can usually choose to say what I think. I am still able to view disagreement as a form of open discussion instead of as a form of aggression. We are a country of different viewpoints, backgrounds, religions, cultures and beliefs. So far, we usually work to accommodate our differences. As a country we celebrated July 4th. We listened to music, watched fireworks and felt proud and grateful for our country. We had that moment, but as this contentious election year continues our ability to engage in polite discourse is increasingly strained. Disagreement seems to be turning into aggression. Worry seems ready to take a hard turn into fear.

My closet is clean. My mind is awake. My legs are ready to run. Our quest for world peace is moving backwards.

Control and lack of control walk hand-in-hand.


4 thoughts on “What we can’t control

  1. I love this and really appreciate your honesty. I can relate on a personal level to so much that you write. Thus, you must be a genius. Haha! But seriously, your columns make me feel that I am not alone in this world with my quirky thoughts, as you have similar ones and are brave enough to put them out there. You are my hero! Maybe we are both completely average and everyone else is only pretending to have their shit together on a daily basis.

    • And I really appreciate your wonderful comments. I’m so glad that this writing resonates with you. It makes me feel less alone in the world as well. Maybe we could be like Pinky and the Brain together! Thank you so much!

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