Do We Control Our Own Lives?

Sometimes it gets overwhelming the number of unknowns we deal with on a daily basis.  At least in my line of work, I can’t even predict my schedule for the next day.  And let me tell you, for someone who loves having control, it gets tough.  I’m one of those people who needs to have a plan for everything.  I have a 5 year life plan, yearly goals (as stated in the last post) a work plan for NextDrop (5 year, 1 year, 6 month, 1 week, daily), not to mention all the things I need to do for my house in Dharwad.  Basically, I’m a person who loves control and plans and checklists.

Unfortunately, life (especially India), is not conducive to such control.  Well, it is and it isn’t.

This week was brutal.  Wednesday night was spent on a sleeper bus traveling from Dharwad to Bangalore, Thursday morning we went straight to business meetings in Bangalore, Thursday night was spent on  a sleeper bus traveling to Chennai, Friday morning went straight to business meetings in Chennai, Friday night my aunt and I picked up my dad at midnight from the airport, Saturday more business meetings in Chennai, and Sunday I left for Dharwad again.  During this time, I somehow got a cold in Bangalore, broke out in rashes in Chennai, and of course it was that time of the month.

On Sunday, before I left, I ended up locking myself in the bathroom and crying for about half an hour.  It was just this big mass of…overwhelming.  I felt like I was crying because I felt overwhelmed, yet I couldn’t even figure out why everything seemed so overwhelming (because really, there was nothing going on that was incredibly overwhelming).

After crying and getting it out of my system, I tried to really figure out what bothered me so much. I have realized that I have become good at coping with uncertainty. It still bothers me, but it won’t bring me to tears necessarily.  But that being said, I have not given up control.  There are a few things that I have assumed I DO have control over.  They are incredibly silly things, but when I don’t have those things, those things which ground me, that’s when life gets “overwhelming”.  So overwhelming for me is not necessarily what life throws at me anymore, it’s when I don’t have the things I use to COPE with life.  These things are:

  • Internet: When I don’t have readily available access to the internet (when I think I should) it throws me off.  If I knew I was going into a village, or an area with no internet, it would have been fine.  I would have mentally prepared for it.  But for some reason, it really throws me off when I assume I have it and I don’t.  I have 3G on my phone, but for some reason, the internet was not working in Bangalore or Chennai.  Also, I have an Ipad2 with 3G connection, but last week the connection was shut off for some reason (and I am still in the process of repairing it).  Finally, I have a data card with portable internet, but since my business partner is new here and didn’t have a phone, he was using it for most of the time- understandably.  My aunts house has in Chennai internet, but it takes 30 minutes for the computer to boot up, and another 20 minutes for the internet to start.  I used it once when I was  there but don’t count it as “easily accessible”.
  • My books/Ipad: I brought my Ipad2 with me but I forgot to bring my charger.  Therefore, I couldn’t read any of the books I was planning on reading.  Not having access to those books really threw me off as well.
  • My journal:  This one was huge- I left my journal at home which is something I never do.  I have a journal in which I write down my thoughts every day.  It helps me stay organized, and it helps me figure life out.  Not having that was like missing a limb.  I know it sounds like I could have just written it anywhere, but its not the same.  I can’t explain it.  It threw me completely off.
  • Forgot my camera:  This was less important (because its relatively new), but I was really bummed that I forgot my camera.  I actually do spend every day trying to take pictures, and  when I see something that I want to capture/not wanting to forget, I love having the ability to do so.

They may seem stupid and materialistic, but these are the things that I have a hard time living without.  If my trip were not as intense, had I not gotten sick, had I not been exhausted, maybe it would not have mattered.  But not having the things which  help me cope with life really got to me.

So in the end, I know that I don’t have control over outcomes in life.  The business meetings…went, traveling will be grueling, and yes I get sick.  But when I don’t have my coping mechanisms, that’s when I get upset.

My new Essentials (to help me stay in control) packing list:

  • Ipad2 (with Charger!)
  • Mac computer (with Charger!)
  • Camera (ideally with charger depending on duration of trip)
  • Phone (with Charger!)
  • Internet data card
  • Journal (find a pen as well otherwise it will get annoying)
  • Wallet
  • Clean clothes (for duration of trip)
  • Aveeno Lotion (only lotion I will use)

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