Today, I waited for a train for over an hour. It was not a train that would make me late to work or destroy my day. I was meeting the train, not taking it, so all I had to absorb was the hour lost standing in the station, unable to accomplish much of anything.
As I stood for the hour, I thought about how the people on the train
(whose day probably was being upended) must be at least as
frustrated as I was. Mostly, though, I thought about how there was
absolutely nothing that I, or the people on the train, could do about the
I'm not used to that. I mean, isn't there always something you can do? Take medicine if you are in pain, get a tutor if your child needs one, bulk up your résumé or call in your
contacts when applying for a job, go online for a recipe when you have
no idea what to do with what's in your fridge?
Today, as five minutes passed, then fifteen, then thirty, then an hour, I
felt an odd acceptance, even peace, about the fact that I was not in
control. Don't get me wrong--it's nice to be in control--of your career
and your income and your kids' successes and the state of your health and home. But
it's not always possible. Much as we'd like to, we can't always be in control.
Sometimes it takes a late train to remind you that things being out
of your control is not so bad. It's definitely survivable. And once in a while, it actually helps you get back on track.