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Today is “I am in Control Day,” but Not for Me

Out of control grandkids' toys

Published in ChicagoNow, March 30, 2017

Bet you didn’t know today is National I am in Control Day. I have no idea how most of you celebrated this important day listed on the calendar of weird, obscure holidays. Before we address that issue, here’s a little history lesson.

On March 30, 1981, John Hinckley, Jr. thought he would impress actor Jodie Foster by shooting President Reagan. When the President was in surgery, his Secretary of State, Alexander Haig, stated he was “in control” until Vice President George H. W. Bush could be sworn in. Actually, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and President Pro Tempore of the US Senate would have come before him, but why quibble?

Of course, none of this has anything to do with the current version of National I am in Control Day, which has evolved into a day to get your life in order. So, for all of you who, like me, generally feel out of control, this is your chance to think about how to get your act together going forward. After you spend a few minutes thinking about it, you will be ready to get control over your life. Not.

There is a list of things you could do on the webpage for this holiday, which I find quite amusing. I know I won’t actually follow any of these suggestions, but here are five of my favorites:

Start using a daily planner – well I do have a calendar on my computer and phone. They even sync most of the time. But much like the old-fashioned daily planner, these things only work if you actually write things down. And who has the time for that when life is so chaotic and out of control?

De-clutter – I read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. That was pretty useless for me, as I have no intention of thanking old clothing for its service and then tossing it. Or of rolling my socks so they are happy. In fact, my approach to old clothing is to save it in case I am that size again. It is only when I see it in a photo from ten years ago that I can donate it to a worthy cause.

Make lists – Again, this requires actually writing down what you need to do. See daily planner.

Tackle one project at a time – What’s the fun in that? As I draft this blog post, I am also ordering groceries online, checking email, and getting distracted by Facebook posts about our ongoing political nightmare. Oh, and I am supposed to make phone calls and send emails to my representatives about the hundred issues that are important to me. But maybe I should defrost something for dinner or do laundry instead. So many choices, so little time. And I thought multitasking was a virtue.

Talk with someone – How is that supposed to be helpful? I just talked to a friend and we commiserated with each other about how out of control our lives were.

After spending the first four days of what is euphemistically called spring vacation entertaining six of my grandkids, my life was really out of control. My house looked like a Lego factory, paper airplanes and markers filled every room, and I had a ton of towels to wash and beds to make. It also didn’t help that it rained every day.

Does anyone remember spring cleaning? Back when I was a kid, my mother compulsively cleaned her already clean house from top to bottom. She reorganized drawers and closets and tossed things she no longer needed or wanted. She kept up this ritual until right before she died on April 19, 2015. In fact, the March 30 before her death, she lamented that she lacked the energy to change her closets and drawers from winter to spring clothing. I guess that will not be a problem for me.

Maybe I just have too much stuff. Maybe I can think of 100 things I would rather do on this miserable, rainy day. I guess blogging about my life being out of control is much more fun than actually being in control of my life.


by Laurie Levy
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