Own It

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:

  1. to take responsibility for something e.g. You crashed the car, so stop making excuses, own it and pay for the repairs.
  2. 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!

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