Do we miss the things that are out of our control?

If you’ve always wanted to be a grandparent, do you miss phantom grandchildren because your offspring didn’t want to offspring?

Do you miss your daughter walking down the grand staircase of your home that you bought specifically for photo moments, just because she chooses not to go to prom?

Do you miss the flat tummy that you will never get back again because a few c sections and menopause have made that an unobtainable goal?

I know people who fall into every one of these categories- they spend much of their time talking about, whining about and complaining about the things that didn’t go the exact way that they pictured things didn’t pan out. I know someone who works out hours a day, watches every crumb that is ingested and has a wonderful, healthy physique. Yet…that person still complains that they don’t look like they did at 22. I know people who have boxes in attics and basements of things they intended to pass down to grandchildren, only to have those boxes collect dust and their hearts harden a little.

How much of your day do you spend thinking about the things that you can’t have because you are not the one who is determining the outcome or the event?

Is it mentally healthy to obsess about things that are out of your control, and will most likely, never be in your control? Is there a point that you have to accept the limits that are just there, whether or not you like them?

I try not to worry about things out of my control. Frankly, I already try way to hard to control things: I don’t need any additional to do’s on my list. I try to accept that some things are just going to be a certain way, no matter what I do. Mind you, I said try: my no means am I chill and relaxed about stuff…

But what about you? What journeys does your mind take when things do not go how you pictured them? Do you lose sleep over them? Do you keep trying to make things go your way?


60 thoughts on “Out of Our Control

  1. It’s definitely not good for your mental state at all; however, I’m one of those that tends to think about things that I wish could be different. One of my plans for 2022 is to stop those intrusive thoughts. There are some things that just have to be the way they are. Excellent topic for today. 😊

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  2. Most things haven’t gone the way I pictured they would. Looking back, I am often glad they didn’t. But there are those other situations when I still wish they would have. That is usually because I messed something up and need to change my ways and that starts a cycle of repentance and change. Better late than never.

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  3. Well…you know I tend to be one of those micro manager over thinkers, but how can you control situations like that? Unfulfilled expectations based on what you want others to do? Trying to force changes isn’t going to go well for anyone as you noted.

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      1. It does seem pointless, but then again I would have to remind myself that no matter how much their angst and rather irrational behavior was being displayed I can’t control them or their issues either. If possible, this is where avoidance (of the person) would step in and solve the problem for me!

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  4. I wish I could say I don’t worry about what’s out of my control but I do. Actually, it depends on the day. Some days I’m good and I dont stress over anything. Other days I do. I’m grateful pretty much every day. And honestly I really am. I have a lot to be grateful for. ( it’s been two years since I was diagnosed and operated on for stage 3 ovarian cancer, so trust me I live every day grateful that I am alive. And most days I don’t stress about what I can’t change or control . I’ve learned to think positive and embrace what I can control not what I can’t. But since I’m in treatment it’s kind of hard to always push away how helpless I am in my destination regarding my health. However, I’ve become really good at focusing on what I can control or change. I’m happy most of the time. But every now and then it’s hard to push aside how difficult it is to dance around the fact that I’m living with a serious illness . Sometimes I get annoyed with treatments and feeling sick. And yes, I might cry. Then I push it to the side and remind myself of my wonderful family and friends and I go back to feeling lucky again. You can’t stay negative. For me as long as I don’t run away from admitting and accepting that I have a health condition, then I can remind myself to cherish the present and stay positive most of the time. I suppose we all deal with our disappointments differently. I’m happy with my life in general. My life has actually been extraordinary. My children and grandchildren have far exceeded my expectations. And I didn’t get sick until 70. So I suppose I can’t really complain. But I think it’s normal to blame or question now and then. . However,we need to remind ourselves to stay in a good place as much as possible. 👍❤️✌️

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      1. Oh I agree. I can cry easily. It suddenly comes out… and then I’ll just move on. It’s weird. Like I release pent up emotion and just keep going… rather like the song by Jackson Brown “Running on Empty.”

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  5. This topic has me thinking of this song that I loved during the 70’s and played all the time when I divorced my first husband. It helped motivate me to raise my now 48 yr old son on my own and to get my masters degree. I find music really does sooth the soul.

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  6. I’m a planner at heart and admittedly, I like control in my life. But I’ve released much of it because it didn’t serve me. Sure, I like to control what I can, which is what is in my life and about me, but I’ve had to let go of what others think about me, what happens and all I try to concentrate on now is how I react to what happens. If that makes sense…but it’s not an easy choice and I have to make it time and time again…some days are easier than others, but still I persevere.

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  7. Great post! There’s not enough room in my head to worry about things I don’t have. As an overthinker I’m too busy overthinking other nonsense. I do remind myself — out loud — of all I have to be grateful for each day.

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  8. I tend not to worry over most things. I try not to look too far ahead. I worry sometimes about the situation I find myself in right now, but not about where I would like to get to – if that makes sense.

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  9. I tend to box up those situations that are out of my control, store them in the back of my mind, and try to live in the open space. But make no mistake, I know they are there, in the back, and I pull them out on occasion, like Christmas. C

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  10. I go back and forth between stressing, and remembering there’s so much more to life than a number on a scale (especially at 50+ years old), and whether I fit into jeans from 10 years ago. I am something of a control freak, but life has taught me to let go more and more. I’m working on just being present this year. Happy New Year!


  11. I’m grateful for what I have and spend no time trying to force things to be the way I thought they’d be. As Mick Jagger said, “you don’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime you’ll get what you need.”

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  12. I’m dealing with this right now as I struggle with the fact that my 98-year-old mom lives with my younger sister, with whom I have a very strained relationship. I expressed my opinions about some things that were going on when my mom first moved over there 2 years ago ( they insisted that mom follow a strict vegan diet and left her alone in the house for days at a time when they went out of town) and now my sister won’t talk to me. Turns out the things I was worried about came to pass (mom’s diabetes got worse so now she is on insulin injections and she fell a few weeks ago when no one was home and couldn’t get up – broke her wrist in 2 places) but there’s nothing I can do about it except watch from the sidelines. Mom is afraid that sister will “put her in a home” if she disagrees so she goes along with whatever sister says. We have no room in our house for mom and my other sister thinks that since “mom is happy” everything is okay. So frustrating for me to “let go” of these things I can’t control. All I can do is stay in close contact with my mom, bring her here for visits (a 4 hour drive) when I can. I can’t even express my concerns to her anymore because it upsets her that. my sister and I don’t get along. Sorry for the rant, trying to get it out to let it go.


  13. I will admit that I do worry about things even when not in my control but I try not to let myself obsess about them. I don’t dwell on them and go in a dark hole. For there is nothing to gain from that, it won’t change anything, and I know worry doesn’t change anything either, but … sometimes it just gets so easy to do. For the most part though I am very thankful that in life I have learned to let things roll off my shoulders. If I hadn’t, I would be crushed by the weight of them by now.

    But Gee! That flat stomach would be nice! LOL!

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  14. Letting go of what I can’t control is an ongoing process for me. I trust God to “work all things together for good,” but sometimes I need reminders. Judith Viorst has an interesting book on this topic—Imperfect Control. I agree with most of what she writes except for the chapter on euthanasia.

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  15. I’ll admit to sometimes wondering “what if” I’d done things differently or made different decisions in life. But I don’t strive to recreate the past or obsess about it. Fortunately, I have so much to be grateful for that it comes a bit easier. I think for some people whose high points in early life were really high, everything thereafter is a letdown. As Rush put it “For you the blind who once could see, the bell tolls for thee.”

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  16. People who focus on the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” are missing out on the life before them. Three people in my life all popped in my head at the same time and all three are people I don’t want in my life. A former best friend, a former 5-year live-in boyfriend (both gone) and my current boss. All three toxic in their own special ways. Two live in the past bemoaning missed opportunities and one terrified of getting old. None of them is truly happy. Great post – very thought-provoking.

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  17. I wasted a lot of energy and angst about people doing things the right way (aka my way) but being older and wiser means I’m now really quite chilled about people doing stuff their way and making their own choices. In fact, I prefer it.

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