Control is about perception

What is control?
I typically don’t start anything I write for the newspaper with a question. I can count on my single hand the amount of times that has been the case in my near 20 years of journalism work, but here we are. Strange times, consistent with living during a pandemic, which has claimed close to 5.8 million lives world wide. It’s a big number. Difficult to fathom. Maybe even too much to process.
The definition of control according to my Quick Reference Oxford Dictionary is the “power of directing” or “the power of restraining” or “means of restraint.” Now my copy, with it’s worn cover and dog-earred page corners, is going on two decades of use for its contents as much as it’s thickness to serve as a platform for my computer mouse with my work setup. I doubt though that the definition has changed much, if at all.

We all have power. It’s there. I promise. It’s right there in our hearts. How we respond to losing control is up to us. This means to let go of what is happening to us and control how we react. Don’t stay at home because it’s negative 20 degrees Celsius. Bundle up, cover your skin and seize the day.
In Canada, there has been slightly more than 35,118 deaths and close to 3.1 million cases of COVID-19. Reading these figures doesn’t truly convey the loss for the country, the provinces and the families that will forever be changed. Their names, ages and contributions to their communities are varied, but what is true of all of them is they will be missed. With our population density, it’s easy to forget the big picture of this pandemic and how fortunate Canada has been through this.
Losing control to a person or a situation is disempowering. It can be painful when you can’t see a loved one, separated by a door or a window through circumstance beyond our control, which is bigger than we can fathom.

As history of pandemics has shown with the 1918 influenza pandemic, these things take time – about three years. Even back then there was a segment of the population that also looked to follow their own path. If you know your history, and saw the mistakes of the past, why repeat it? And, yet, here we are.
Let’s not submit to what we can’t control because of direction from others. Let’s practice the restraint to forge the path together again. Let’s not forget how far we have come to undo the efforts we all want to see culminate in a future that we can reflect on how to live without restrictive health measures that is safe for everyone.

Anger is real. Frustration is real. The power each of us wield to control how we react is also real. It’s not easy to restrain the emotion of anger. It is important though. It helps not only others, but yourself. Recognize how you feel when you’re angry. It takes energy. It robs us of the opportunity … to be able to harness that energy to do other things, which is to be open to life, whether that’s to partake in healthy physical activity or to just embrace what you already have, whether that is roof over your head, running water, electricity, or your loved ones.
There is plenty to be thankful. And plenty we have control over.

*source World Health Organization