Most of the time, we humans as a whole are not very aware of our...well, eccentricities. Peculiarities. Quirks. The things we do that other people see/hear all the time of which we ourselves are blissfully unaware. Sometimes, though, I catch myself saying something that I realize I say over and over and over and it must be driving everyone around me crazy. The phrase is - yep - “driving me crazy.” I say it all the time.
Everything is driving me crazy, it seems. People at work, a computer problem, handling my elderly disabled mother, fitting a dress I’m sewing, the mushmouth dictator, the light coming in the window when I’m trying to sleep at 7 p.m. (gee, thanks, Daylight Saving Time). Oh, and I cover past, present and future equally in my frustration. “That used to drive me crazy!” “This is driving me crazy!” “This is going to drive me crazy!”
Occasionally I’ll substitute another word: “This is driving me insane!” Either way, it’s the same phrase and perfectly reflects the frustration I feel at whatever the problem seems to be. It was just today that realized the true victim-hood of that particular choice of words.
It intrigued me that I was always using the word “driving.” Something or someone is driving me to someplace I don’t want to go. Driving me at full speed towards the brink. Driving me against my will to a point of mental instability.
When I really thought about it, I had to laugh at the silliness of it all. If something/someone is driving, then I’ve given up control of my own life, my own reactions, my own plans. The ironic part is that the driver hasn’t taken control to steer me in wild abandon on the Highway to Insanity - I have willingly given over the keys.
One of the most important things I’ve learned in life is that we can’t control the actions of other people, can’t control the weather or unavoidable schedule changes, can’t control how our co-workers do their jobs, can’t control our kids, can't control our relatives...in short, we just can’t control life in general. That’s a given. What we can control, however, is our reaction to all these things. And what is a common reaction to things? At the very moment we can truly assume our rightful control, we hand over the keys to the problem and brace ourselves for the hellish trip and almost certain wreck at the end.
As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite life instruction is the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” After I have heard myself complain over and over that someone/something/some situation is driving me crazy, I now realize an important point: Once we identify the things we cannot change versus the things we can, and if then we take the things we can always change (attitude/reaction) and still give over the keys to insanity...well, that’s...just....crazy.
So move over, you out-of-control driver. I'm taking the wheel now. I have some pretty good directions and know where I want to go. And it's not to Crazyland.