I had an epiphany as I was walking home from work the other day. This was it: I am in control of my own life. Hang on, I hear you say – that’s not an epiphany. … But for me, it was.
After I moved to Greece six years ago, so much slipped out of my control: Mr Chef (before he was a chef) got made redundant, and in the horrid economic climate he couldn’t find a stable job again, I lost control of my work-life balance, I lost my baby, I lost my mind to post-natal depression. Slowly, everything got better … but I guess I got used to living with that mindset: that shit was going to happen to me, and I was just going to have to take it lying down.
On my way home the other day, for no reason at all, I suddenly saw my life for what it was. Here I am, riding along in the back seat of a car, complaining about the potholes in the road and the bad driving. Then, I look over at the front seat and I realise there is no one driving this car! And why should there be? This is my car, my life – what am I doing in the back seat?? It’s time to take the wheel. … There will still be potholes, and I’m probably not a very good driver, but at least I’ll be in control of where I’m going.
If you’ve read some of my other posts, you’ll know that depression really did a number on me. I blame it for making me a bad mother and a crappy wife, for wiping my memories and wrecking my dreams. And it did. And there’s nothing I could have done to stop myself getting depression – it’s not something you can avoid by exercising or eating right.
But I’m OK now. I didn’t lose my life, or my kids, or – incredibly – my marriage. And it’s pretty much over now. And the part of my life where I am the victim, where I am passive and submissive – that has to end, too. I can’t blame the bad driving on anyone else – there is no one in this car but me.
So now I come to the title of this post – own it. It’s my favourite American expression at the moment (although I can’t imagine myself actually using it in conversation – I don’t think I could pull it off with my oh-so-British accent!) As far as I can tell (and correct me if I’m wrong), it has two meanings:
- to take responsibility for something e.g. You crashed the car, so stop making excuses, own it and pay for the repairs.
- to be the best of the best e.g. You didn’t just lead the race out there, you owned it!
I mean it both ways when I say: It’s your life. Own it.
Take responsibility for the crap that life throws at you and for your reactions to it. And then make the best life you can – be the best at living it, the best at being you.
I’m in the driver’s seat now, and I am going to own it. … Let’s just hope I drive better than I do on Playstation!