Helena Rodriquez: Freedom Newspapers
We’re such control freaks these days. We like to control our time. Control our space. Control how long our meetings last. Control agendas. Control how much input and output we will take from others and so on.
I’m an admitted control freak. I control the air conditioner in my car. I control what kind of music is played in it. I control what kind of music my teenage daughter Laura listens to. I control the remote control to our home television. I control what religious and political messages I will listen to and from whom. I control my sources of news and information and I would say that I also control my destiny, based of course, on my spiritual beliefs and how I go about living my life.
One thing I have learned the hard way, however, is that no matter how hard I may try, I cannot always control my daily schedule and sometimes that’s not such a bad thing. I have a good friend Bernard who is a lot more laid back than me. This neighbor of mine often finds it amusing to watch my comings and goings, and not always at the legal speed limit.
When I ask him what his plans are for the weekend, he’s like whatever, I’ll find out when it gets here. As for me, I’ll usually have the better part of our weekend mentally set into time blocks of planned activities. As a matter of fact, Laura has gotten to where she’ll start asking me, sometimes as early as Tuesday or Wednesday, what we will do the weekend and I’ll usually have a good idea.
I used to be real rigid about sticking to my schedule, particularly when it came to studying, but over the past few years I have been learning to loosen up a little. You have to have some flexibility in your life, that way you don’t get like I used to be. When one little thing would get out of schedule or didn’t go as planned, I felt like that was just the beginning and that my life was going to fall into complete chaos.
These little things made me angry and sometimes even ruined my whole day or weekend. Then I began to realize it was silly and I was wasting a lot of time being upset about things I usually could not control.
Yes, there’s that c-word again: control. It’s this desire to be in control that sometimes causes us to rob ourselves of blessings as we try to control the very hands of the clock that we Americans have become so obsessed with.
Part of the reason I relinquished my so-called control to a higher authority is because, duh, I started noticing a pattern over the years. On many occasions I was glad, sometimes relieved that things had not gone according to plans because this “loss of control” often resulted in an almost missed opportunity. And even when it did send my controlled world into chaos, I also found the lessons I learned were invaluable and made me stronger.
Today, I’m still a bit of a control freak as my family will attest to, but not so much when it comes to the little things. I’ve found that it’s sometimes best to just go with the flow. As my outdoorsman of a friend Bernard has advised, I’m also trying to take more time to look up at the sky to see what the clouds are doing and I’m taking more time to enjoy the outdoors this summer.
This slower pace of summer, I hope, is helping me to get some priorities in order because when the fall rush starts, my foot will be back on the gas as I race around against the clock.
I know, though, that part of my busy fall schedule will also have to include some down time, some time with nature and some time to not worry about time.
Helena Rodriguez is a columnist for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. She can be reached at: