That’s What She Said- A Control Freak Lets Go of the Reins

It’s that time of year again when the holidays have ended and many of us look to the new year as a logical starting point to institute positive changes in our lives. Each January, many of us try to take control of our lives and our choices through resolutions (or ridiculously failed smoothie cleanses . . .)

I made it 11 hours into a 3 day cleanse.
Willpower is not one of my strong suits.

This year, however, my resolutions look a little different. I have always been a Type A personality kind of gal (which is a polite way of saying I’m a control freak). I like lists and plans and schedules and organization because it makes me feel like I’m in control of my life and my surroundings.

This store’s catalogue is like porn for me.

Lately, however, I’ve had to face the fact that I cannot control everything. My husband and I are expecting our first child, a son, in early February and while babies are world shakers all on their own, our son was diagnosed with an extremely rare and randomly occurring heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). For you non-medical types (like me), that’s basically a fancy title that means that the left side of his heart isn’t developing the way it’s supposed to and with our case, he’s more than likely going to need a heart transplant.

No one knows what causes HLHS and the doctors have repeatedly stressed to me that there was nothing I did that caused our son to have this heart condition; it’s completely out of anyone’s control. It just happened.

As could be expected, something of this magnitude being out of my control does not sit well with me. Everything that I had planned for and expected to happen about having a baby has gone completely about the window. I had expected this . . .

. . . instead of what has happened so far. In order to be closer to a better hospital, surgeons, and resources to help our son, my husband and I uprooted our lives and moved on very short notice. We’re working with an amazing team to try and create a treatment plan for our son but there’s so much variation within HLHS that it’s hard to plan for much which means that we just have to wait and see.

As you may have figured out, I am not a “wait and see” kind of person.

I have come to the conclusion that this year’s resolutions for me need to be about giving up control rather than trying to take control. There’s only so much that I can do and what’s going to be best for my mental well-being is to let go of my need to be in control.

I think this might be a good attitude to have in general, not just for my particular situation with our son. There’s only so much that we as people can control about our circumstances and sometimes, it might be the healthier option to just let it all go.

This might not be a popular line of thinking, especially in a day and age when we as people are constantly told to “grab control of our destinies” and “take charge of our lives” and “seize the day.”

Sometimes Christian Bale insists we do this through song and dance.

And I’m not saying we shouldn’t still try and set goals for ourselves and work hard to achieve them because we should. But there are times when I think we need to realize the importance of letting go and realizing we’re not as in charge of everything as we’d like to be. It’s kind of a freeing feeling, to admit that I don’t know what’s going to happen and what’s more, I can’t plan for it.

But if we’re being honest, there’s a good chance I’m going to channel all of my need to control into reorganizing my pantry again and again and again.

Originally posted at The Next Great American Writer, written by Emily Regan
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Emily Regan is the author of several books, including "What's an Adult?: No One Knows Anything and We're All Going to Die." She is an avid fan of reality TV, an unironic Hanson fan, and currently resides in Arizona with her family.

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