Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Seductive Illusion of Control

The past week has been spent in preparing for and then enduring the replacement of the original tiled kitchen countertops with granite slabs. We started this project in 2010, and I promptly fell into a massive procrastination mindset that lasted until this summer. The instigation for action was my brother's road trip with Mom to visit family in Southern California.

I began to write a recitation of all the steps to get ready for the new granite and got depressed. Suffice it to say that nothing about home improvement projects is easy, everything takes more time than planned, and I now know my way around four hardware stores in three towns. Oh, and the workmen broke the glass rangetop. I get that these are first world problems.

I have illusions of being in control of things like my house and my kitchen. Although I get my illusions dashed regularly, I am too stubborn to let go of them. They're my illusions, and I like them.

We invited my mother to live with us when we moved here in 2000, and we invited my brother to live with us two years ago. We have a friend with brain damage who has spent almost every weekday with us for years and helps with handyman jobs. Besides Herb and me, they all have free rein in the kitchen, and their imprints show up everywhere, from the food that's in the refrigerator to what's on the kitchen counters. Most of the time, I am okay with sharing "my" kitchen, but I get cranky sometimes. 

What I've discovered about my behavior and my attitudes, more than once because I'm a slow learner, is that when I get cranky, my body acts out. It's called biofeedback. So, right now, my carpal tunnel is talking to me, and I am communing with the time-release B-6.

I learned that control is illusory years ago as a young supervisor with equally young employees who were still learning how to be working adults. I learned that lesson raising two children who told me in myriad ways that "you're not the boss of me." 

I continue to learn that lesson as I try to finish up this kitchen project and negotiate with everyone else about when and how things will get done. Mostly, they all want to move faster than me, because they aren't hampered by the crippling control illusions that I harbor that prevent me from moving as fast as they want to go. 

I suspect the universe will continue to give me these lessons until I finally learn the lesson. I sure hope it's soon.

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