Don’t attempt to control every aspect of life

Columnist and Columnist

When I look in the mirror, I see more than I can sometimes stand at eight in the morning.

As soon as my eyes adjust to the blistering light in the bathroom, it all hits me: my hair is shaggy and unkempt, my face is pudgy, my chin is hairless and my toned abs … a work-in-progress.

I’ve been unhappy with the way I look at different points in my life. The thought of how others must view me physically weighs heavily on my mind. These thoughts give way to deeper, more vexing questions as I enter the shower and hope my rendition of “What’s Going On” doesn’t make Marvin Gaye roll over in his grave.

I guess I’ve always been more of a wonderer than your average person. I’ve always wanted to know why I was here on earth and what my purpose was.

As a kid, I wanted to be a firefighter, then a baseball player, then a writer. By the wiser, omniscient age of 18, I thought I had it all figured out. I was going to major in French and become a college professor. Easy, right?

It turns out that I had mistaken passion for interest. C’est la vie.

At 21, I’ve been humbled enough times by life’s realities to know that trying to control every part of your life will avail you nothing.

One such time was working at my yearly summer job at a car service garage.

In the heat of the summer days, it can get brutal. Were it not for the opportunity to earn money, I’d say it was miserable. But the real joys and pains of the job are the people.

It was my first time being exposed to men who were older than me, but young enough to still be relatable. Many of them talked with me, swapping stories, and I found that many of them have endured heartbreaking tragedies and hardships in their lives such as addiction, death and loneliness.

In their own ways, many of them struggle with the same sort of existential questions I do.

This concept always led me to question why we do anything, being that we can control so little.

Why do we sweat, bleed, cry, laugh and reach for the sky when in only 100 years, most of our lives, our greatest achievements and proudest moments will be nothing more than whispers between distant stars?

It’s a depressing thing to think about, but it’s beautiful too in its own way.

We read of the greatest heroes, martyrs and prophets as if their fame was set in stone at their births, but maybe this was their greatest worry too.

Maybe the questions of identity, love, death and eternity weighed on their minds just as it weighs on mine and on those of others. But this same thing that gives us sadness and confusion can also give us release and serenity.

There are some things that we will never be able to control or change, and every moment we try harder to micromanage our lives, the simple pleasures found in the day become harder to enjoy.

So, when our destinies don’t reveal themselves to us, and the right path to walk seems unclear, we can only pick up our feet and walk.

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