Finding My Umbrella

I’ve been trying something new this week. I’ve been attempting to create a bit of balance.

It’s such a simple thing, but it took me a while to understand it. To do it.

This past week, whenever things seemed to be looking down, when something hasn’t been going right or I’ve gotten some bad news,  I’ve been trying to meet it with something positive.

I haven’t been searching for things to be happy about or thankful for, because that’s what I’ve always tried to do and this week it wasn’t working. It felt a lot less concrete, and a little bit forced to look for the patch of clear sky amidst a very real storm. I still need an umbrella to avoid getting soaked, no matter how much I focus on the blue.

Not that perspective and positivity aren’t valuable and important, because they really are. In fact, I believe that they are essential.  But this week, they felt a little too passive and fragile to stand as my primary coping mechanism.

And, as a long-time control freak, I’ve never done especially well with ‘passive’.

In grade school, group projects were the bane of my existence. I hated the thought of my name being on someone else’s work, because what if it didn’t live up to my standards? I usually ended up doing the whole thing sneakily, trying not to make anyone feel bad while editing out their sections.

Thankfully, I’ve learned to trust people a little more since then, becoming a much easier person to work with, but I still have that thread of bossiness running through me.

I like to feel as though I’m taking action, taking control of my situation.

Lately, however I haven’t been feeling at all in control. With no structure to my days, no certainly, it’s felt like the majority of my life is out of my hands, and I simply have to wait and see.

That’s certainly the reality for a big part of my life, but it doesn’t have to be my pervading approach.

I don’t have to rely on circumstance to improve, or luck to be with me.

I can take control.

This week, when the doctor’s appointment I had been waiting for was cancelled, I made some fun quizzes for this blog. When I realized that I may have to cancel a trip that I’ve been looking forwards to for a very long time, I bought myself a subscription for audiobooks. When I was feeling anxious, I delved into an exciting new project. When my GP told me that I had to go back on to a severely restrictive diet, I invented the most delicious and sugar free chocolate chip banana bread quinoa cookies.

Not every action was relevant to the trigger, but why should they be? I’m not trying to turn the bad stuff into something positive or teach myself a lesson - the punishment does not have to fit the crime.

I’m simply trying to give myself some concrete, positive experiences to balance out the negative.

Because I can’t control what life throws at me.

I can’t control my illness, I can’t control the world around me, and I can’t control the people in my life.

But I can control how I respond.

More than that, I can control what I do, how I spend my time.

I can choose to fill my life with wonderful things that I love and enjoy.

And that’s exactly what I plan on doing.