Surviving And Thriving – For Control Enthusiasts


Today I told Sandy I feel like one of those vintage doggy pull-toys. I did love mine back in 1959, as well as that ball-popping toy vacuum cleaner that must have driven my grandmother nuts. But I never wanted to grow up to be one.

I feel like events are pulling me around by a string, and I follow while making little squeaky sounds. Multiple illnesses in Sandy’s family (his 95 year-old dad just broke his hip), business pressures (we’re trying to hire someone and they’ve fallen though each time) and just generally keeping up with life: volunteering, house care, singing, and of course blogging.

This is truly a case of middle-class privilege, as we are so fortunate to actually have parents, a home, a business, and a couple of computers. A little cash in the bank, healthy cats, and loving siblings. My problem is that old Control Enthusiast issue – have you seen that commercial? It’s no longer “Control Freak”. Enthusiast sounds so much healthier.

The Control Enthusiast’s motto: I hate it when I don’t get a say in what’s happening. And yeah, that’s a mindset that needs to evolve. I have given up trying to control the weather and the stock market, let alone my cats’ behaviors. But I am prone to get anxious/withdrawn when sh!t starts hitting the fan close to home. I go into Surviving mode and all the Thriving comes to a thudding halt.

Here’s my partial plan to rediscover my zen:

1. One overnight trip to anywhere, just Sandy and me, no chores, no electronics (well, one cell phone to stay in touch with his folks), good wine.

2. Earlier bedtime, to include re-reading a favorite book. That takes away one unknown; I am sure I will enjoy The Gunslinger by Stephen King this time around too.




3. Saying a loving NO to specific requests, if I don’t have time/energy to do them well. It’s OK to say no, to refuse a new project. I’d like to help the Cat Thrift with an upcoming fashion show, but at this point I can only offer a small check. No guilt required.

I know many of you work full time, raise kids or grand-kids, and put many hours into your online life as well. Are you skilled at thriving, and staying in the moment? Or does a shot of Tequila sound good now (it’s 5 o’clock in London!). xo




Stay fabulous,

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  1. Patti, I loved this blog and especially agree with “getting away”…always works for me. Thanks for sharing about “Control Enthusiasts”….so true

  2. I understand all too well the stress that situations in which you have no control (but think you have) can cause. I think the suggestions for coping you’ve listed here are excellent, and it’s good to remind yourself that it’s ok to admit to yourself and others that you can’t possibly do absolutely EVERYTHING . I work full time and make a point of setting aside time to go to the gym, skype/call/visit with friends, and still keep my blog and Instagram accounts active. However, my apartment is an absolute mess which is going to have to be addressed sooner or later.

    • thanks Shelley – I think it’s great that you make time to go to gym and see friends , those are good de-stressers. xox

  3. I’m sure it feels like the sky is falling. Getting burdened with stresses that are beyond your control is when one’s true strength is examined. Putting one foot in front of the next is a big deal. It is when choices are taken away from us that we best understand that we are capable of enduring much more than we have given ourselves credit for.

    I think your plans are brilliant for coping during a time of high stress and unknowns.

    I would also add some self care in the form of exercise or meditation. I do believe it helps the body cope in times of stress. Even if it is just a walk to clear your mind. Exercise is one of the first things to be tossed aside when we are stressed and it is one that can help the most.

    Sending big hugs your way!


  4. Sometimes life is just like this. Hang in there, it shall pass.
    A short trip sounds lovely. Now, pass the wine, please!

  5. I just saw that same pull toy in Mrs Bertimus’s studio – What a coincidence! But I know what you mean about being pulled around when life is out of control. However, I’ve never had a problem saying No if I feel overloaded, and I’ve never had a problem saying Yes to tequila. Hang in there, Patti – things are sure to get better as the planets move around, or El Nino calms down, or you win the lottery!

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