Theme: Dealing with situations outside our control
The night before the first day of classes, everyone waited anxiously for the university’s decision to cancel or not. Some hoped for another day of freedom while other, nerdier, people like my self—prayed for classes to be held. Regardless of what they wished for, last Tuesday night more than one Brown student was staring at the sky, hoping to control the Snow.
Years ago, the second I heard the words “Snow” and “Philly” slip from the TV screen in a Midwestern accent, under the pillow went a spoon, inside-out and backwards went my Pj’s, and into a “Snow Dance” went me.
Snow days used to be a dream come true. That thrill of hearing school was cancelled fueled childhood fantasies. Mornings were for snow angels, afternoons for snowmen, and evenings for that final cup of hot chocolate. Bedtime came with exhaustion and dreams and hopes of the snow never melting.
Yet it always did.
At some point the snow days turned back into school days and the White Wonderland morphed into black slush that got on your shoes as the School Bus drove by. At this point, the Snow Dance became an outdated one-hit-wonder and I would wish for Spring.
Whether my fingers were crossed for the snow to fall or melt, I was putting all my energy into something in which I had no control. I mean, I’m sure I thought those spoons under my pillow and my backwards pajamas intensified the chance of a NorEaster hitting Philly, but efforts were surely wasted.
Snow does not fall nor melt on command. No crossed fingers or kitchen utensils under pillows will ever change that. I’ve learned that there are some, more like many, things in life that we have absolutely. No. Control. Over.
That’s pretty scary.
But also kinda cool.
Perhaps we are in the driver’s seat, perhaps we control the steering wheel. We may control our speed and direction, but we are powerless towards if traffic hits or cows cross the road. We can decide to yell at the radio or honk at the heifers—but we have no control beyond our own state of mind.
For me this idea is freeing. I’m handing off some of the pressure and allowing the universe a share in writing the story of my life. I now give it permission to give me road-blocks, traffic, detours, and dead ends so I can learn to breathe behind the steering wheel.
I have no control over whether the snow falls or melts. I have no control over many things in life. I am learning everyday that this is not what makes life difficult, but what makes it fun.
Snowy days reflect our changing ways. This give us the opportunity to notice how we deal with the unknown. When the TV screen announced Snow in Midwestern accent we have the choice to either deepen our worry lines—or go make a Snowman.
Unanswerable Question: What would life be like if we gave up control?