The One Life Lesson Everyone Needs To Learn

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Thought Catalog Flickr

I’ve spent most of my life heavily invested in this idea of control. I thought that if I could manage my routine, what I put in my body, how much money I get at the end of each month from working, I would be able to make my own luck. My least favorite feeling in the world is powerlessness. Being “out of control” isn’t really an option for me, especially since I realized very early on that I have terrible coping mechanisms. So in order for me to avoid any potential stress/Mariah Carey style meltdowns, I would simply have to be in charge of everything that was going on around me at all times! Sounds easy, right? Like a super fun life?

Yeah, obviously it’s not. It’s also become resoundingly clear to me in the last year that control is largely an illusion. You think you can steer the wheel and have your life be placed on this beautifully well-lit track, and to a certain extent, I guess you can by choosing not to do very bad things like crack or heroin, but the thing I’ve learned the most in my brief twenty six years of living is that life is a punk who likes to switch things up without asking for your permission. You can control and micromanage all you want but at the end of the day, life is going to do whatever the hell it wants. The only thing you can do is choose how you react to the chaos.

It all sounds very “no shit, Sherlock”, doesn’t it? After all, this sentiment was first expressed with The Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” You think it won’t ever resonate with you—it only applies to Christians and addicts!—but then it does. It becomes something you need to hear over and over.

I’m convinced that anyone who figures out how to focus on the things that are within their control while forgetting the stuff they can’t has won life. Seriously, they can pass Go, they can collect $200 because they’ve reached the finish line. I look at these people who can “let go” and just go along with the adventure with such envy. Like, screw people in happy relationships who also have successful careers. I just want to be the guy who has learned to not stress out about every little thing. They say that stress is a silent killer and that it chops years off your life expectancy. If that’s the case, I guess I should be dead any minute now, babe! TC Mark

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

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