millennial matters

by cutter slagle


Like Janet — Ms. Jackson, if you’re nasty — I’ve recently learned the importance of control. Sorry to disappoint, kids, but today’s “C” word isn’t what you were expecting. Perhaps next time.

t’s my personal belief that to make it through life without going completely crazy — too late! — it’s necessary to understand the power of control. Further, we must know when to give up control and just let things ride — no matter what.

Yes, the task is hard. Really hard. Extremely fucking hard. And that’s coming

from someone who used to rock a bowl cut. Believe me, I know hardships. I’ve never considered myself a control freak. The opposite, actually. I’m more

of a go-with-the-flow, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, hates-making-plans type of guy. Perhaps it’s this whole COVID-19 pandemic and being forced to stay home (which I honestly didn’t mind, even enjoyed, until lately) that has me wanting to explore a more dominant persona. Or, maybe I’ve finally — albeit later than I should have — come to the realiza- tion that trying to control every single aspect of life is about as useful as listening to Donald Trump speak. Because, as it turns out, you can’t control people or their actions or job opportunities or the fact that the Kardashians will be around until the end of time (along with cockroaches) any more than you can control the weather. Who knew? Sometimes, control isn’t only about holding all of the power in certain

circumstances just for the fun of it but being in charge of what happens to potentially avoid disappointment and heartbreak. After all, if having control over something or someone allows you to predetermine an outcome of a situation, then the chances of you being blindsided are slim to none. Most of us already know that being blindsided can hurt pretty badly. It hurts about as bad as, well, listening to Trump speak. Yet, the sooner we realize and accept that the universe doesn't always play fair

or care about our individual disappointments and heartbreaks, the easier our daily lives might become. Specifically, if we can come to terms with the notion that shit is going to occur regardless of what we do, say, think or feel, then we just may learn how to relax a little bit. Maybe in order to get to that point, we must first need to comprehend what we — our own selves — can rightfully control. And that’s a simple one: The only thing we can control is our own selves. We control our own actions, our own feelings,

our own beliefs, our own words, and that’s pretty much it. As a writer, I can’t control who sees my work. I can’t force a literary agent to read

my latest manuscript and like it. All I can control is the writing itself. My job is to keep producing the best possible content I can, get it in front of as many people as I can, and then hope for the best. Tenacity, that’s also an important quality to have in the writing industry — not to mention, an invaluable quality to have in life. What else can’t we control? We can’t control if someone near and dear to us

wants to lie, cheat or steal. We can warn them of the consequences, inform them of the negative backlash guaranteed to unfold following those actions. However, if someone wants to do something, they’re going to do it. Period. We can’t always be there, hovering around them 24/7, trying to stop — control — their decisions. Unfortunately, as well as depressingly, we can't stop people from

voting for Trump. We can educate, offer a million reasons as to why the Cheeto shouldn't be in the White House, host rallies and fundraisers, and go to protests. But, at the end of the day, voting for Trump is still a person's right. Talk about disappointment and heartbreak. The message here, which I’m sure is obvious by

now: We are only responsible for ourselves. Trying to control someone else or something else, regardless of the conditions, will only force us to go insane. What level of insane? Probably Lindsay Lohan dancing in the Mykonos insane. Worse, though, trying to control someone or something will only force us to lose sight of our true selves and our goals. Instead, we need to focus on being the best person we can be, making the best decisions we can make, not worry about others, and just let things ride

Cutter Slagle is the published author of suspense, horror and crime-fiction works.

38 | September 2020

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