You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”Maya Angelou
To a certain extent, we are not in control of our lives. We do not control where we are born, the people who walk in and out of our lives, the timing of certain events — such as birth, death or meeting the right life partner. We cannot control the weather or flight delays. For some things, we can try to manipulate the end results, but for many outcomes, there is an element that is entirely dependent on luck, the universe, the unknown or a higher power (whatever resonates with you). It would actually be quicker to list the aspects of our lives we can control.
For me, the past 36 hours have been wacky. On Sunday morning, I woke up to a strange gas smell in my apartment. The building is extremely old and probably unsafe for humans. At first, I thought it was nothing, so I went to the gym for a bit. When I came back to the apartment the smell was still there. I texted my landlord, who is out of town. She instructed me to call the emergency number for the gas company. So, I did. A representative from the gas company was there within 20 minutes. She checked out the stove, didn’t find any issues. Then she proceeded to the heater and didn’t find any issues either. Finally, she went back to the stove and found that it was leaking gas even though it was turned off. So, she shut that down. I currently don’t have a working stove, but I was told I was safe. Then, a few hours later, I noticed the smell again, so I called the emergency number and a different representative came. Since the stove was shut down at this point, all he had to check was the heater. He found an issue. There was a loose valve of some sort that he was able to tighten. I was told it was safe to sleep in the apartment as long as I kept the windows open (mind you, the temperature was 20 degrees last night). Whatever, I don’t mind layers, but getting out of the shower this morning was rough. Today, I woke up this morning to the smell of gas, I don’t know if my nose was just messed up at that point, but I know needed to trust my gut and acknowledge that my apartment is not safe to stay in until the gas smell is completely gone.
I only have a few friends in the area, but no one who lives close to where I work (and I don’t drive here in Boston and I feel weird about intruding), so a hotel was the best option. I also was too busy looking for an affordable hotel that I forgot to think about dinner. I realized this once I got to the hotel. To find somewhere to eat would require me riding in an uber for the 3rd time today and I’ve already spent too much money. So, luckily, I found a Cliff bar in my bag and the hotel had complimentary chocolate chip cookies (which were really good by the way).
I don’t know why, but today I decided to simply surrender to that element of this outcome that was simply out of my hands. Although things have been crazy, I wouldn’t consider 1/20/20 to be a bad day. I had a productive day at work, had lunch with colleagues, laughed a little, and now I am here in a hotel room writing a blog post — my new favorite activity. After I’m finished, I am going to read my new book.
Although I do not know what is going to happen with my apartment, I’m at peace right now.
Here’s are some examples of what I can control:
- How hard I work.
- How I treat other people. One thing to absolutely avoid is taking your frustration out on people who have nothing to do with your issues. Practice channeling your energy into productivity.
- My ability to adjust my sails when things don’t go as planned.
If you can practice these 3 philosophies, you will be just fine.
There will be many bumps in our roads ahead, both major and minor, and there’s not much we can do about it. The challenge is embracing the ride on our scenic routes and surrendering to the obstacles that we can’t control with our gas pedals and steering wheels.