Stop, drop and (un)control



I was at the supermarket the other day watching my items run away from me on the conveyor belt. One by one I put my four items down and one by one they got away, I’d never felt more helpless. The runaway groceries were causing an existential crisis.

What the hell is wrong with me? Get your shit together. What’s with all the emotion, weirdo?





One of the most terrifying things for a human being to realise is that they are not in control. Control is everything to our routinely arrogant species. Controlling our day, our finances, our emotions, our physical being. Controlling our loved ones, our selves, our environments…where does it end? It is no wonder we feel so damn pent up all the time.

Sure, when we feel that control is within our reach we feel super human, on top of things – high as a bird, squatting on a tall building, shitting down on the heads of all the humans below. But when we stumble, when we trip up and lose a grip on one or two of the many things we are trying to keep in control of, it sucks the life out of us. We feel a failure because we lost control.

I was so pissed at the checkout dude. Watching the belt move with my provisions on it, moving, moving – out of my control. There was noone behind me, there was no hurry. Pretty soon the feeling of helplessness and sadness turned to frustration and anger – I was just like, ‘dude calm down, have you got somewhere to be?’

Poor guy. Turns out not even they have a control of that belt. It just goes automatically. Like life.




 News Flash : None of us are in control!


So I left the supermarket and believe it or not, all those runaway items ended up in a bag at the end of the belt and came home with me. See? It all worked out in the end, I got what I wanted.

But it got me to thinking, how can I learn to let go of that feeling of helplessness when things get out of my control?

I can philosophise all I like and paste inspirational quotes on Facebook, discuss it with friends and shake it off with a boozy night out. That stuff is easy, within my control. But it doesn’t help.

I will never be an expert on this, but do you know what did help me in the end? Variety. Random and plentiful acts of enjoyment and productivity that were clearly out of my control.


Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neal in What's Up, Doc?, 1972.


I made an effort to let go of my acute desire to control pointless things.

I just opened myself up to a whole bunch of new ideas, new adventures, other people’s problems, other creative outlets, a pinch of physical activity and a couple of new work projects. Things I knew I had no control over. In the space of a day or two, I suddenly became so occupied by activity that didn’t call for me to be in control. Pretty soon the desire for control had subsided and I was just getting on with things. With life.

Across the board, the best way to move on from something that hurts a bit, is to discover as many new things about the world as you can. Pretty soon you stop over-thinking, in my case, stop trying to control the uncontrollable, and you just happen upon moving on.

Who knows how long this wave of productivity will last before I try to control one specific, frustrating area of my life again, but at the moment who cares. It doesn’t hurt right now and I am actually okay with the movement of life and my groceries.



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Imagine me, Im at the supermarket again, this time with a whole trolley full of random crap, that I kind of want, but kind of don’t care about. I stack it all up on the conveyor belt and watch it move away and I don’t even care cos there is so much of it, some of it is bound to land in the bag and I can probably make some use of it when I get home >>THIS IS A METAPHOR – I can’t afford to just buy random crap that I don’t need <<  Or I could just walk out with out paying for any of it and laugh.

Then have a cup of tea.




What is my point? I am not in control of any of it – I am only in control of how I deal with it.

We will never have ultimate control, so go easy on yourself. Just enjoy life. And keep reminding your thickhead to do so.

And, after watching a 60s French film on YouTube, helping a friend out with their project, agreeing to do something way out of my comfort zone – just because, reading about some scientific stuff that has no relevance to my life, giving the floor a vacuum, sending out 4 or 5 emails to cool friends I’ve lost contact with – filling up my trolley – I feel like I am dealing with it. I am in control of not being in control.