Taking Control Of My Life

Yesterday was a terrible day, one of those where everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Do you know the ones I mean?

It started with a leaking washing machine. Just as I was about to leave for work I noticed that water had began to gush onto the kitchen floor, soaking everything in it’s sight including the bottom of my jeans. I didn’t let this phase me, though, and I quickly notified the appropriate people before jumping in a taxi and heading to work. Then, whilst at work, I received some disappointing news that will force me to reassess my entire summer. Still I ploughed on, devoting myself to my activities and trying to convince myself that it was okay. I won’t get into the particulars about why the rest of my work day wasn’t the best, but just know that I was still resolutely and forcibly cheerful until I was in the taxi on the way home and the driver, despite telling me that he knew where he was going, drove me to completely the wrong part of Accra. Only then did my smile flag, and I remained polite but internally seething at the events of the day until we finally, finally, pulled up at my door. 

Thankfully my roommates took me out for Mexican food that night, and after a hilarious night of fishbowl margaritas and tequila toasts to terrible days I woke up refreshed (I’m not kidding - as my beautiful friend Nicole just pointed out, tequila knows when it needs you to not be hungover).

Today, I vowed to myself as I pulled myself out of slumber, today will be different.

Now nothing I did yesterday was particularly of my own making, but I know that many times I carry a bad day with me into the next one. The disappointment and disasters linger in my consciousness, marring a perfectly good 24 hours. Instead of falling into this trap, I made sure every decision I made would contribute to a fulfilling and worthwhile experience. I showered, put on my favourite outfit, coated my lips in red (a surefire way to feel good, I promise you), and began to engage in activities that I knew I could complete, ones that made me feel productive and fulfilled.  

This somehow lead to me reconnecting with a very important person that I hadn’t spoken to in a year and a half, a move I’d been toying with for months but couldn’t bring myself to do. When he replied, and we began engaging in a friendly catch up, it struck me how wonderful it felt to be taking control of my life like that. I had for a very long time feared that he hated me for what had happened between us, and now I know this not to be true. 

I also set about planning alternatives for my summer, in an effort to create a desirable Plan B. If Plan A wasn’t going to work for me then I was sure as anything going to make sure that my other options were what I wanted them to be; whilst I may not have had control over the original dream, the latter I did have control over. 

All this turned into a perfectly wonderful day, one in which writing essays became a positive experience where I reflected on how lucky I was to be receiving the education I am. This was helped along by the fact that I spent a good 15 minutes thinking I wouldn’t have financial aid next year (a cruel April Fools joke that I fell for hard), which made me infinitely more grateful for the generosity that I have been receiving over the past three years.

The moral of my story is twofold: Firstly, don’t let a bad day ruin a good one. I could have easily spent today in a grump, lamenting on my bad luck. Instead I took control of my life and I made it a good day, because I wanted to. Secondly take control what you can. Sure there are a lot of areas that are outside of your management, but there are some well within your domain. And I don’t meant control as a coping mechanism (I always budget excessively when I feel like things are running away with me) but rather changing or making plans to be positive. Whether it’s organising a cheer up session with your friends, or even just trying to reframe the situation. Do what you know will make you feel better, because you deserve to feel good and why wouldn’t you want to?

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