Can you control your life? My short story about living on my terms, control, fear, dungeons and magic amulets.

I didn’t believe in destiny. I was young and reckless. I did everything on my terms. Sometimes things went well. A lot of times things went terribly wrong and I had to clean up a lot of mess. What I hated the most about destiny or God was the idea that I can’t control my life. I can’t do everything that I want, I feel, I dread. Something in me was fighting hard against that. I wanted to be the general, not a just a soldier. I wanted to lead, not to follow!

Then I discovered some “self-help” books. You can do anything you want, Lead your life, Control your destiny, Sell anything to anybody, Live on your terms, Do anything you want. I liked those concepts. They were luring my passion for control. I tried a lot of that stuff. Most of the time it didn’t work. Sometimes it worked but things turned to dust pretty quickly. Or it went bad, dragging other parts of my life with it, bringing chaos and despair. It was the same cycle over and over again.

I became frustrated. I fought with life, with God, with authority, with everyone who was staying in front of my wishes. Most of the times I lost. I suffered, I felt confused, lonely and depressed. But I didn’t give up my dream to control my life.

Fast forward almost a decade. Something became obvious to me: I just can’t control my life! It doesn’t matter that I like or not, it’s just what it is. And I can’t change it.

  • I can’t control my birth date
  • I can’t control the day I die
  • I can’t control my gender
  • I can’t control the family I was born into
  • I can’t control the country I was born into
  • I can’t control my parents
  • I can’t control my friends, relatives, teachers
  • I can’t control my eye color, the length of my … nose, my hair thickness
  • I can’t control my mind
  • I can’t control my reactions, my emotions, my inner states
  • I can’t control the global warming, wars, Putin’s behavior, price of oil
  • I can’t control when my loved ones are going to die
  • I can’t control who I’m going to love and who will love me back

I can’t control 99% of my life and what’s going to happen to me. Yet, I can control something. I can control who I want to follow: my mind or my heart.

I tried both ways. For years and years. Here’s what happened when I followed my mind:

a. Things didn’t work out (most of the time).
b. Things worked out, went smooth for a while then crashed and burned leaving me a lot of stuff to deal with.

Every time I followed my mind I lost time, energy, money. I lost years of my life doing stupid stuff that I didn’t even care about on a deep level.

On the other hand, every time I followed my heart & soul something interesting happened:

a. Things worked out from the start and everything just “flowed”.
b. Things didn’t work out like I believed but then something more rewarding and meaningful came out of that situation.

As I learned after years and years of trials and errors things come in black and white. When I follow my mind I get screwed. When I follow my heart I get rewarded. It’s that simple.

How about control? I learned that I don’t have control of the outcome in neither of the situations. The only thing I can control: I’m following my mind or my heart? That’s it. Life will then play out in its own unique way. Control it’s an illusion. I just can’t have it, no matter how hard I try or what I do.

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It’s funny how the need for control controls my life. When I try to control things I actually give up control. Here’s a short story about it.

– I want to control my life, said the young man.
– You can have the illusion of control, said The MIND. But you have to pay for it. With your FREEDOM. I will lock you in my dungeon and you’ll bow before ME for the rest of your life.
– There is a better way, said The HEART. Just follow my signs and you’ll find your freedom and happiness.
– But your path is unpredictable, heart. I don’t know where I’ll end up. At least here I know I’m safe, said the young man. Locked away but safe.
– That’s right, with me things are safe and predictable, said The MIND. Don’t trust this childish fairy tales. You’re all grown up now. You need to be responsible.
– My path is so much more fulfilling. You’ll find joy, fun, and happiness. It won’t be easy but it will worth it.
– I’m sorry, but I can’t risk it all away anymore. I’m 20 years old after all. It’s about time to get responsible. It’s time to go for the sure path.

The MIND nodded happily with a subtle smug. She opened a new box and gave him a beautiful golden amulet. In the middle, there was a green stone that portrayed the illusion of control. The young man wrapped his neck with the gold chain, put on the gray clothes and entered the dungeon voluntarily. He locked himself there and start to contemplate his amulet. A promise was made:

– I’ll never lose sight of you!

The MIND sat comfortably in a chair, sharing the small room with the man. The heart kept screaming. But she was far away and the big door made sure that her words won’t reach the young man’s ears.

That’s the worst deal I could make. Giving away everything, just to feel safe and in control. How about the heart? Did things went easy and soft when I followed it?

Actually, a lot of time they didn’t. I had to go to war with my mind. She won’t gave up that easy. There were periods of pure suffering and pain. For example, I decided to start drawing about 2 years ago. I went ahead and took some classes. I started to doodle. I fought many battles and lost most of them. And then, after 20 months, things started to get a little more serious and constant. There is more and more space inside the mind for my drawing passion. Drawing starts to get easier, fun and more rewarding. But it wasn’t always like that.

I heard about people who followed their heart since they were little kids. That 4-year-old that kills the piano. Or plays soccer all day long and then turn into Messi. It wasn’t my case.

Following my heart isn’t always easy. I still need to battle my demons, to do counterintuitive stuff, to get out of your comfort zone. Yet, every time I complete a journey I find satisfaction, purpose, and joy.

How about my need for control? Am I cured? I don’t think so, but I’m not that stupid anymore. I’m tired of suffering and hurting people I care about. I’m tired of wasting years of life to chase fools gold. I’m tiring of sitting alone, in the dark with my lifeless amulet.

There are a thousand comfortable, large and wrong paths. And one small, hard and fulfilling path.

Right now, for me, it seems the only one worth taking.

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