I stumbled across an idea this week that stopped me in my tracks. I consider myself relatively organized, maybe a bit of a Type A personality. I like things in order. For example, Sundays I sit down and plan my week. Everything from what we are eating for morning snack on Tuesday to who is picking up who at what time from what extra curricular. It’s all planned. I go and pick up my groceries on Sundays for the week so I have everything that I need. I have the Family Routine tacked up in our Kitchen so that at any given time the family knows what is supposed to be happening – so yes. I believe that a controlled routine is necessary.
Chew on this. Control is a delusion.
We as a human race have no control. Chaos is actually the mother of all invention, the necessity of life and the underlying spirit of our life on this planet.
Let’s think about this for a moment. On one hand we have order. Think the Stepford Wives to the 100th degree. Our kids show up in the kitchen in the morning with their shiny white teeth, curly pigtails in their hair, pleated skirts pressed properly. Their shoes reflect the sunlight shining through the window and their white socks are rolled over so that the frills line up perfectly on each ankle. The stand at the kitchen sink where mom is wiping an already clean counter. Nothing but smiles and manners as they grab their perfectly square lunch pails and off to school. Every day happens much the same with little deviation from the norm. Traffic flows smoothly and every car knows not to pull out in to the intersection if the light is yellow causing a hold up in all four lanes as they end up precariously perched in the centre of the intersection. Every morning goes exactly as it is planned so that your butt hits your chair at work just as the clock on your phone hits 8:00am. Order.
Then there is chaos. You wake up in a panic realizing that your alarm didn’t go off. You jump out of bed screaming at your kids to get up, they are going to miss the bus. You rush to the kitchen bumping in to walls as your body finds it’s vertical equilibrium. You hear the yelling and screaming – “I was in there first!” as your kids fight over the bathroom. The bus stops in front of your house. There is yelling, there are children still in their pyjamas with sleep in their eyes. The bus drives away. You drop your coffee pot on the floor spilling hot coffee across your white linoleum and splashing up on your white dog. You slop some jam on some bread and call it a sandwich. Your kids finally pull in to the kitchen demanding breakfast, NOW. Their clothes are out of the hamper and one child has mismatched socks. You get to work 20 minutes late, which normally wouldn’t be a big deal but of course you missed your 8:00am appointment with your number one client. On the way out the door you realize that your dog had peed on your shoe so you grab the next best thing. Fancy sneakers with your suit pants. And the day toils on.
Order and chaos.
If I was to reflect on my own personal situation, I would suggest that on the Order:Chaos spectrum I definately ride closer to the Chaos. In fact, I have the best days when I accept the fact that a normal day is a chaotic day. That with three kids, the craziness will never slow down. So if life is always going to be crazy and chaotic, every day, and that is what we are used to, than the new status quo is crazy and chaotic. If normal is the status quo and the status quo is chaotic, then my life is chaotic and chaotic is normal.
There is something to be said about the liberation that comes from accepting that. As a human race, we can’t slow the earth, we can’t stop the traffic from holding us up on the one day that we needed to be in early. We can’t stop the rain from pouring on our outdoor wedding day. Can’t control the choices that our children make. We can’t tell our bodies not to have to pee when we don’t want to pull over at the rest stop because every child is finally sleeping on the 20 hour road trip. So really, what control do we have?
Would life be more enjoyable if events that happened around us were largely perceived as beyond our control, therefore not our concern? Would we then find it easier to shrug our shoulders and turn up the radio when you find yourself stuck in a construction zone in a city you aren’t familiar with and it takes 55 minutes to drive 500 meters? Is it easier to shrug at the traffic but get frustrated when the dog pees on the couch? Did we really have any control over that to begin with? Not really.
I suppose that would be a good exercise for me – Chaos is normal. Control is a delusion. Roll with it.