This week is brought to you by the letters G to L and by the numbers 7 to 12 and I could tell you how to get to Sesame Street, but I left my GPS in my other bag.
Yesterday was a blog free day – one of only four in April and so in keeping with my new-found permission, I decided to just hang and go with the flow. This ended up in me cutting the pad of my left index finger with a kitchen knife in trying to tame a piece of pork shoulder. So far it’s pork shoulder – 1, Judy – 0 and all I’m going to say is I’m looking forward to the rematch. What this means though is that my key board skills are currently compromised. Do you know how essential the index finger on your left hand is to touch typing? Even if you’re more than a two finger typist? So every time I type the letters “r”, “t”,”c”, “d”, and “v”, the pork shoulder comes back to trumpet its victory. And whilst my writing skills are almost legendary, I have yet to master the art of writing a blog post without the letters “r” and “t” and “d”. I’m thinking “c” and “v” are probably more dispensable, but the Challenge is not the time to prove that theory. And just to rub salt into the wound, guess what came next after cutting my finger. That’s right, I had to rub salt into the pork shoulder and you can guess where some of the salt ended up. It seems my pain impulses are in perfect working order, seriously good to know! Anyway, now that I have set the scene for the week of blogging ahead with the appropriate degree of pathos, never let it be said that the show hasn’t gone on.
Yes, I could have pre-programmed my Challenge posts, but I didn’t because there is some part of me that loves the thrill of winging it and of being flexible about writing what I feel like on the day. The irony is also not lost on me for the topic of this post….. for there it is, a perfect example of going with the flow.
Control, what an illusion? No really, it is. And it only took me forty plus years to realise. Clearly, I’m a slow study. Over recent years, I have become acutely aware of what I can’t control and have come to accept that that’s the case.
The notion of objective fairness used to loom large in my life. My expectations of certain outcomes as a result of other people acting fairly or life treating me fairly were keeping me hostage. Mind you, I expected no less of myself (and I still don’t), but then it occurred to me that the only one who was interested in my expectations was me and the only one who suffered when my own expectations were not met, was me. There was no lightening bolt from the heavens on the person or circumstance that didn’t exhibit the appropriate degree of fairness. They carried on as if nothing had happened, because in their reality nothing had!
How many times have you heard or said the following expressions?
He/She should have done this
I can’t believe he/she didn’t/did do that
She/he should have realized X and therefore done/said Y
This is the language of control and I’m not going to lie, I used to say these quite a bit.
The energy I spent in trying to determine outcomes was huge. The fact is, I can’t. Everyone has freedom of choice as to how they respond to external stimuli. YOU have freedom of choice as to how you respond to external stimuli. That’s the only thing we can control, our response and our thoughts and actions. The rest is up for grabs.
Every day brings new stimuli and situations, particularly at this midlife stage. More rapid change is now inevitable and the longer we hold on to what WAS, we cannot enjoy what IS and nor can we smooth over the necessary transitions. Flexibility and patience are needed to locate those doors that are now opening. Your flow will determine which ones you open and enter.
So, it’s time to move from control to acceptance and respond by kicking the crap out of middle age!
Today I give myself permission to go with the flow and to indulge my left index finger.