I often use perfectly good energy trying to plan, predict, and prevent things that I cannot possibly plan, predict, or prevent. Although I’m much better than I used to be, I’m a bit of a control freak.I used to remind him, but I let go of doing that, too. I can gracefully accept when others step up to take charge. I enjoy following their path as a change from my own.
So, in fact, it’s still okay to control whatever I want to control, as long as it’s about me and my own activities.
My control freak no longer negatively impacts anybody else.
This is a good retirement attitude, and these days I’m all about learning how to be retired. Now I focus my control-freak persona on only those things. Mostly, they are things that nobody else cares about, nobody else will even notice whether they get done or not. There are still times when I crave that I’m-in-control feeling. I’ve decided that, for me, it’s really a craving for getting something done.
The good news is, I don’t need to do that “right” either. A craving for control is actually a craving for that feeling of accomplishment we all get when we complete something and/or do something well. Be completely open to alternative ways of doing things.
For example, when I become aware that I’m in control mode, I imagine that I’m in a small boat paddling upstream, against the current. Simply breathing and saying, “Let go of the oars” is usually enough to get me there.
Sometimes it’s a little harder to make the shift from control to surrender. It turns out I really wasn’t, not always, not for some people.Now I stop and listen, rather than jumping right in with my solution. I’ve learned to patiently await his next cleaning day, even when the cute little dust-bunnies jump out from the corners to mock my lack of caring about their presence. Only after that, it’s okay to speak my mind or give my opinion. It’s okay to present my ideas; it’s not okay to be forceful or insistent about them. I don’t have to be in charge of getting things done. I will absolutely learn something new when I observe how others do things. Instead, I read and listen to what other people say about being retired, and I give their ways a try. My partner says, “Everything I need to know about retirement, I’m learning from my cat.” I like this feline way. When that craving arises, I put myself to work on a current art project or go out for an invigorating walk. That list is special because I’m the only person in control of whether or not (and how) those things get done. A pleasant side-effect of satisfying my control cravings in this way is that I don’t procrastinate any more. And yet, it feels so good to cross something off the list. I take control over my avoidance and tackle my lists. Their ideas are just as important as mine, if not more important. When I’m micro-managing and obsessing over details, I know I’m in my own way. If letting go of control and surrendering not only feel better, but actually produce better results, then how do we do that? When I choose to let go and surrender, I visualize the boat turning around, me dropping the oars, and floating downstream.