My name is Robert Kennedy and I blog on my personal site at RobertKennedy3.com. Kina spoke with me last week about guest posting and we came up with an idea to post about technology (my sweet spot) and how we can use that when life overwhelms us a bit. I had some REALLY good ideas and then……I started to write. Things were not making sense and my mind just began to wander a bit. And you know what? I let it wander. I did. You just have to do that sometimes. What you will read below is what came out of that mental meander.
Life happens! It really does. And guess what, there is nothing you can do about it. Did that statement make you feel out of control or WHAT? That feeling of seeing what is coming but never being totally able to self-correct is probably one of the scariest things for most.
I remember when I was about 22, I had purchased my first car, a green Ford Escort GT. Yep, gotta have the GT. A boy’s gotta have a bit of speed, you know. Anyway, my parents went out of town for the weekend and one Saturday morning, it was just me and my brothers at home. It was snowing outside but, I decided that I wanted to go for a ride to a friend’s house. We had been working on an original song and I wanted to go finish it. Awesome! Packed the keyboard in the trunk, a Korg M1 for those of you that are into music and remember those, closed the trunk and took off. Although it was snowing and a bit slippery, I decided to take a back road that I had taken many times. This road was blessed with a few corners that took some skill even when it was dry. But, of course my youthful vigor didn’t believe in danger. Or maybe, I believed in it, but just didn’t believe it affected me personally.
So, off I went down this road and happened to see a friend coming in the opposite direction. We both stopped and chatted for a moment. She told me to watch the roads because the hills ahead were a little challenging. I flippantly said, “Yeah dude” as I waved my hand out the window. About a half mile up the road, I noted a car coming towards me. However, due to the snow, this driver was doing what most other drivers were doing in this weather…following the tracks that had already been made by the other vehicles that had driven that path. Here’s the issue. Those tracks were in the CENTER OF THE ROAD!! So, as we got closer, one of us was going to have to move over to the side to let the other pass safely. We were coming closer and I could see the tension in her face. It was now like a slow motion movie…literally. Well, that was mostly because it was snowing and we were driving slowly. I decided to pull to the right side of the road because I was doing my duty to take care of my GT! She passed me and we locked eyes in slow motion, like a Quentin Tarantino movie. Scratch that. Maybe she didn’t look at me. Oh that’s right, she was a bit nervous so her hands were pretty tightly wrapped around the steering wheel.
You’re reading this and wondering when the OUT OF CONTROL part comes. Right now. As I passed the other vehicle, there was a corner ahead. It wasn’t a full 90 degree corner or turn. It was just the natural bend of a road, one that required me to make a left adjustment with my wheel. I turned it to the left and as the road straightened, I turned it back to the right. Normally, when I return my steering wheel to the straight up position, the car follows along and corrects its path. On this particular day, the car (yes, I’ll blame the car) chose not to follow the steering wheel. The car never straightened up. We entered a glide that felt strangely surreal and peaceful and yet scared me out of my wits. I was relaxed at first but I could feel my body beginning to tense. They taught me never to steer against the skid. They told me to remain calm. They told me not to panic. They told me slowly steer out of it. They told me…..
BANG!!! That tree just wouldn’t get out of the way no matter how much I yelled. Since I was now forcefully stopped, I figured I would get out of the car. Pain took over and I fell! Everything was a blur. The police came. The ambulance came. The EMT’s said they were going to have to cut my coat off. I yelled, “NOOOOOO”. I’d worked two weeks to buy that coat from Wilson’s Leather! I’d lost the GT. I wasn’t going to lose the leather, too. I had to regain control! I had to have SOMETHING! Bruised sternum, bruised clavicle. I had to grab for something! I needed a lifeline. I needed to own something at that moment. They were NOT going to take my coat! I remember that feeling right now. It brought me peace.
I don’t know from personal experience what it feels like to lose control mentally or emotionally. But I do know what it feels like to have no control and know that you are headed for a big bang! So, what do you do? A coach of mine once told me that ‘everything you have done up to this moment has gotten you to where you are.’ So, the things that you are currently surrounded by, the things that are currently a part of your frame might not work in helping you to regain your composure and direction. I have some things that I do when I am overwhelmed. You may decide to use some of them if you choose. But, here are some additional tips that may help in those out of control moments.
1. Recognize that I am out of control.
2. Step out of my current zone and physical location.
3. Do something new and different away from the normal distractions. If I am around a computer all day, I get outside and take a walk. I might go to the golf driving range or the batting cage (somewhere I can legally swing REALLY hard at things).
4. Place it in perspective, recognizing that as bad as it seems at the moment, there are SOME good moments for all of us. Hang on to those!
5. Write it down. Yeah, we’re bloggers but writing doesn’t necessarily come easy just because of that. Yet, somehow, writing seems cathartic and provides a memoir so that in the good times, I can see where I’ve come from and in the bad times, I can see that I DID have some good times.