External flipping out is usually reserved for people who are in some way or another causing me a large amount of grief, but the flip out episode I'm referring to here revolved around a friend that I normally find very enjoyable, and have no desire whatsoever to flip on. That's what was so weird about it.
It started off as girlfriendly chit chat, and somehow rolled into a conversation with deep and penetrating questions about all sorts of future stuff. The kind of stuff that I really have no idea about, and very little control over. The kind of stuff that I get heart palpitations if I think about too intensely. Big Stuff.
And that flipped me out.
I'm not sure exactly why, but somehow the whole conversation had me feeling (and possibly sort of acting) like a wild caged animal. I know that Dear Friend didn't mean to make me feel trapped with her inquiries. She just has a mind that wants to be prepared for any potentially problematic outcomes, to have a master big picture plan with fine details on the far off horizon.
But, the reality seems to be that there are some things you just can't be prepared for. The far off horizon has so many things that are not in the least bit in my control that it's quite honestly terrifying.
I probably freaked out because I'm just starting to get used to this idea that a whole heck of a lotta things are not in my realm of control by any means. Like, not at all.
I can only (and barely) control my own actions, and life is complicated and full of all sorts of other people and problems. No matter how much I want to wrangle them into my way of being, there's only so much I can do.
If there's one thing I've learned in the last couple of roller coaster years, it's that I really don't have any idea of exactly how the details of the future will unfold. But even so, things usually turn out pretty freaking well.
My family, home, relationships, job~ I didn't know how any of these things would have looked a year ago, and I couldn't possibly have guessed. I just went on feelings, pointed my compass and forged ahead, leaping when I could, trying to trust, and stopping every so often to curl up in a ball and eat chocolate. And at some point along the way, I realized that my life kicks arse.
For the most part, I feel like the future looks bright and feels exciting. But, if I start to dissect things too much, all that lack of control is scary freaking stuff. Trying to ink in fine details onto the distant horizon seems like an exercise in frustration.
A better plan to me seems to shorten the horizon. Setting the focus on what's working right now, and what's on the immediate or at least shorter term forecast, whether that be this weekend or in the next couple of months, is a lot more doable and a lot less stressful.
None of us really need to figure out the exact details of the distant horizon today.
We just need to trust that it's pretty and colorful, and that even if we have to change course a few times, that we'll keep heading there.