This amazing, confusing thing called life. Now, I am aware that I am only twenty-two years old, so my pearls of wisdom haven’t had much time to fully develop. But young as I am, I have learned something very interesting about life- you are in control and you are also not in control.

Let me repeat that for the people in the back.

You are in control of your own life but at the same time you are not in control of your life.

A weird concept right?

We, as humans, like to be in control. When we want something, we devise a plan and have every little step mapped out. We “know” exactly how we will get from point A to B. We don’t like to think that things are just happening to us. We need to be in the driver’s seat at all times, we are terrible passengers. To an extent, we are in control of our lives. We can control what we do, what we say, how we react to things. There are many things in our lives that we control. Sounds good.

But that’s not all. A hard concept for us to accept is that as much as we are in control, we really have no control as well. We cannot control what other people do, what other people say, we have no control over the weather and try as we might, we cannot even always control the outcome of our own actions.

A few years ago, I was in a relationship-my first boyfriend ever. At that time, I was also planning on doing med. I had it all sorted out in my head, school will take 5 years, I want to work for one year and then we’d get married. (Yea yea, I know, so young and I’m planning for marriage, roll your eyes or even laugh, I know I do.) About one year into the relationship, I changed my mind and decided to do law instead. Law would take 5 years as well so the plan didn’t have to change that much. What he wanted to do, kept changing as well. Three years later, we broke up and my carefully devised plan went down the toilet. I could not control him, I could not control our relationship.

Now, looking back, I’m happy that it ended. I had so many experiences and met so many new people. Things that I would not have done had we still been together. This leads me to my next point- we are not in control, but God is. As much as we think we’re in control and as much as we think we know what’s best for us, more often than not we learn that that’s simply not true. And we tend to learn that the hard way. It often takes some sort of failure and years to pass for us to finally look back and realise that that failure was for the best.

I think that one of the keys to being happy in life is acknowledging that you’re not as in control as you think. Do the best in the areas that you can control and keep the faith with respect to the things you cannot control. Let go of that need to control everything. This is one of my biggest struggles. I’m a control freak by nature and when things go awry, I lose my mind. I need someone to tell me “hey, simmer yourself, relax!”

When you accept that there are some things that you just cannot control, life becomes better. Obviously when things go south you’re going to get upset, but you can control how upset you get. You can control how you react to setbacks in your life. Try to have a positive outlook on everything and just accept that some things just aren’t meant to be. Now, if you’re anything like me, this may seem as a cop out or an excuse-“Oh I failed that exam so I guess I was not meant to pass.” Accepting that some things are beyond your control does not mean that you must not take responsibility for your actions or play the victim. You must always take the time to reflect and see where things went wrong and how you can change. Not every failure means it was not meant to be. It can mean that you didn’t do everything you could have or it could mean that you have to learn from failure in order to be better equipped for the success to come. Letting go of control does not mean to just float through life. It means that you do your best but detach yourself from the outcome that you want or expect. It means working hard if you want something, but realising that hard work does not necessarily mean success on your time. The toughest part of this and something that I have to consciously work on every day is finding that balance between “you want it, go get it” and “que sera, sera”. Find that balance and you’d be much happier with your life.

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Posted by Hillary Muddeen