How Valuable is Control in Your Life?
We are happy to welcome Jeremy Hicks who has been an active member of the lifeforinstance community since its launch in November. He also works at Livefyre, the amazing commenting system we use here. We appreciate his sharing of the journey that brought him to Livefyre and here, to lifeforinstance!
You do want control of your life, don’t you?
If you quietly whispered “yes” into your monitor, then I know you’re human. If you didn’t, you’re either a) terrible at whispering and said “yes!” out loud (join the club) b) denying your inner-urges to “pwn” (nerd talk for “own”…again, join the club) every aspect of life you can or c) you’ve mastered the art of serenity in all things and I applaud your trust and discipline (can I get an invite to join your club?). But if you’re anything like myself, then you would like to have some say-so in the direction life takes you.
In 2009 following my May 16th graduation from Freed-Hardeman University, I was rejected by over 50 employers before eventually being hired by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES; a branch of the US Department of Defense.) I was also passed over by the United States Air Force for a commission as an Air Battle Manager. I was not the one in control. In 2010, I was again passed over by the Air Force after applying to become an A-10 Fighter Pilot. I was also a year into a job that I hated, separated from my fiancé (now wife) who was in California (I was in Shreveport, LA), and the college debt monster had more say-so over my bank account than I did. I had very little control in my life and it was eating me alive. So, in an effort to reclaim the control I desperately wanted, I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where I snagged an awesome internship with a company called Livefyre that turned into a full-time job in a career field I love.
I felt that I finally had control. I was doing something I enjoyed, I was with my wife, and though I still had a lot to get into place, I felt like I had finally gained control. There were many tough decisions, even a frightening period of financial uncertainty. But I had finally gained control. Then, my grandmother died two days before the New Year and all of the sudden I had again lost control. If I had my way, she’d still be alive. But I couldn’t have it my way. I was not in control and that was extremely frustrating. That was the reality check that sparked the personal epiphany: I can only control how I react to situations. Cliché? Yes. Uninspired? Not at all.
Unexpected expense? That’s out of my control. A loved one passes away? There’s nothing I can do about that. A potential employer says “no?” I never had the final say so. A trying disagreement arises? All I can control is how I handle that specific situation.
With the arrival of 2011, I’m only seeking to take control of myself. What are you seeking to take control of?
Photo credit: Chester Zoo