Get A Life: Not everything is within our power
I am looking out the window in disbelief as I watch the snow fall here in the Boston area. How could this be? It’s almost April and spring officially arrived last week. I had actually begun to see small patches of lawn. Not much, a couple of inches here and there, and the 7-foot mound on the back deck had receded to around 3 feet.
Every morning I wake up, open the shades and hope for a miracle. I hope to see green bushes, crocuses, squirrels and birds. I keep staring at the flakes, desperately trying to will them to go away, but so far they’re not paying any attention.
The weather is an interesting lesson in how futile it is to think we have control over life. Yet so many of us think we do. Magical thinking is how many of us try to make ourselves feel better. “Things should be different,” “People shouldn’t be so selfish,” “I’d be a lot happier if I won the lottery.” These are thoughts that situations should be changed, when it’s really not in one’s power to change them.
Many of us were brought up listening to fairy tales that ended with the slaying of the dragon, the prince saving the damsel in distress and them living happily ever after. It’s wonderful to be carried away by a fairy tale that fills us with wonder and joy, when we’re children. I loved listening to the stories my mother told me before I went to sleep. Unfortunately I took away some messages that were truly unrealistic. I thought I should marry a man that was similar to the princes in the aforementioned stories. They would whisk me away and take care of me as if they would perish without me.
Well, I married two faux princes and drove myself nuts trying to get them to be what I thought they “should be.” After years of trying all kinds of techniques to try to change their essential characters, I had an epiphany. I had to change myself and my perceptions. I’m sure you’re saying “what took you so long”? But some of us take a lot longer to stop living in la la land.
I have not transitioned into a cynical, jaded individual who is no longer invested in the magical possibilities of the universe. But I am realizing more and more that I can only control what is in my control and what isn’t. For the most part even that is an illusion, but in order to get through life with a certain degree of sanity, we need to still retain a small amount of a fairy tale mentality.
Author, humorist, PBS star and Fortune 500 trainer Loretta LaRoche lives in Plymouth, Massachusetts. To share your pet peeves, questions or comments, write to The Humor Potential, 50 Court St., Plymouth, MA 02360. Visit her website at stressed.com.