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Catherine Ann x

Sunday, 24 November 2013

My Inner Control Freak and Me....

We interrupt this school and study-based series to bring you some urgent feels and a small epiphany. Catherine Ann needed to get something off her chest. Enjoy!

This may either come as a total shock to readers, or a boring non-surprise to friends, but I am the world’s biggest control freak. I come across as easy-going to strangers, a result of a half-shy, a quarter-polite, a quarter-oh-so-English thing... but beneath the surface there lurks a monster who has to have everything exactly just so or else... terrible things happen.

Lately I feel like that control has been slipping ever so slightly. After several months, probably over a year actually, of everything going right, everything being in its place, things have begun to fall apart just a little. There have been a few personal things that have made me feel like I have less control over my own life.

Then there was today. Today it all came to a head.

I’ve been working on coursework for my Leaving Cert History for the past months, after my first attempt last year was a bit rubbish. I wasn’t worried, though. I have until April and I’m finally beginning to get the hang of historical, factual essay-writing. Last night, I spent an hour and a half on the main essay part. Everything was going to plan, everything was under control... yes, just the way I like it. I got the last of the research done and typed everything up. My facts were factual as can be, my structure would have blown your mind, and I concluded the crap out of the conclusion.

I got up this morning all ready to follow the Sunday study timetable I’d planned for myself. A part of this—after working on maths for an hour, no less—was to read out my essay to mum and then print it off to bring in for my teacher. I was pretty excited, actually... this was the final draft! I’d almost done it! With luck, I’d have it all written up soon and could forget about it by Christmas.

I opened the document and began to read out the first paragraph while mum nodded along, ears on me and eyes on the housework.

I stopped. Hadn’t I edited this sentence last night?

I scrolled down.

Where was my conclusion?

It hadn’t saved.

I don’t know whether something went wrong with the saving, or if I just forgot (which it pretty plausible: I finished at about 11pm and was still in an emotional state from Doctor Who), but whatever happened, all my hard work at polishing and perfecting was gone.

In my disappointment and stress, I compared the event to several that have taken place recently, and there was a feeling of lost control, scuppered plans. The feeling that you’ve got your whole timetable written out, literally or metaphorically, and then someone’s come along and ripped it up in front of your face. How do you react? Do you scrabble around for the pieces on the floor, cry at the loss of control, or just accept it?
Accepting is difficult, but I tried to remember a life lesson my family learned a few years ago. After a similar series of unfortunate events, my dad told us he’d come to a single conclusion:

We have no control over our own lives.

No matter how hard you try, things will always get in the way. When I was little, I used to think with childish selfishness that I was living my life, that everyone else—parents, friends, people in the street—were other characters in my show.

I think we all realise by now that this isn’t the case. We’re all part of something much bigger, and it’s impossible to just walk on along a straight path—there are hundreds of alleyways and lanes and bridges where other people intersect with you, and these are accompanied by rocks and potholes in your own road.
Don’t try to drive around in circles or get overcome by road rage, and don’t stop altogether. Just cruise along and realise that it’s not the end of the world.

Me? I am trying to stick to my plans and my goals, but I’m also going to ride with the rough patches. It’s OK to relax just occasionally, take a pit-stop, if you will. (Are we still enjoying the metaphor?) So I’m not going to work on that history project today. Just for now, I’m putting it out of my mind.

Sometimes you just have to sit back, screw up your timetable, make a cup of tea, put on a Made In Chelsea re-run and involve yourself in all their silly little problems... because that’s simply all you can do. 

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