“If you’re not writing your own story, you’re a character in someone else’s.”Charles Brogan
Sometimes I forget that I am the author of my own story. I occasionally allow myself to get lost in the fantasy that I am only a marionette in someone else’s story and that my fate is tied to their whims and pulls on my strings. My emotions go on a rollercoaster ride as I ponder what will come next – with what words will the author paint my destiny?
Today as I was performing mundane chores at home a thought struck me with such clarity that I almost stumbled. The only strings pulling at my life and dictating my emotions are those that I myself have tied. And if someone else has control of them, it’s because I handed them the strings. It’s that simple. The universe does not, as I like to believe when I’m especially critical of myself, have it out for me. If I am successful, or not, get a promotion, or don’t, it is not because the universe is toying with me. Sometimes, it just is – and it doesn’t mean that outside forces conspired for or against me, or that I’m a good or bad person. It just is.
I have allowed myself to lose sight of this for the past year. Although I’ve had my moments before, the past year has truly been a rollercoaster of anxiety, stress, peace, calm, frustration and acceptance. This is mostly due to events related to work where there has been a lot of change, and COVID-19 certainly hasn’t helped. I don’t mind change and actually thrive on it. Things were set in motion and I got carried away with the possibility of a promotion. I read things into actions and words which weren’t there. I second-guessed myself a thousand times. I allowed myself to get worked up to the point of feeling nauseous and losing sleep. And as time went on I began feeling like a failure, ignored, forgotten, under appreciated. Why? Because I forgot that all those other people weren’t writing my story – I was.
Regardless of the outcome, I now understand that only I can decide how it will affect my story and how I choose to feel about it. And then I can move on – because my story, like yours, has many chapters yet to be written. And though I can’t dictate the outcome – wouldn’t that be awesome? – I can write the next lines. Maybe I will choose to be happy, or angry, or maybe I will allow myself to vent at, or thank, the universe. But I know moving forward, I will have control of the strings.