Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Locus of Control

A friend asked today why I haven't paid much of any attention to politics. I told her that it was because I'm tired of investing energy in things I can't change. Then I added that I was tired of being constantly disappointed. I don't think I'm the only one, but I do wonder about my extreme reaction to the turn things have taken. I wonder why I have no tolerance for it right now. Half a day after that conversation, I'm still thinking about it and trying to understand what has happened.

Politics has always been pretty much bankrupt. This isn't news and I can't be surprised by it. I've never had more than one vote and rarely had enough money set aside to donate. Still, what once was sport, is now just vile and ugly to me. Something new has got to be going on.

Maybe it's that I'm trying to get myself published more. Writing these blogs (trying to get back to doing them daily), polishing a collection of poetry to submit as a book, submitting poetry to magazines and journals, and seeing where my writing can take me. I'm trying to define myself as a writer and wondering if it's possible to achieve the feeling of being a writer. Sure, I've been writing for years, but to feel as though I'm a writer (a real writer) I need to get stuff out there and see how I can do in publishing.

The focus on that has certainly pulled me away from some things. It has also filled me with a sense of how much of that is under my control. Not all of it, especially not the whims and opinions of editors, but the craft of the stuff is all up to me. I can make it better, I can learn to be more of a writer. The lack of control I have in politics, in the world of policy making is shown up by the fact that I can so control what goes on with my writing.

I'm also running a lot more than usual and finding, again, that I have all the control in the world over how much I run. Out on a run, feeling fatigue set in, I've found that I can go through fatigue. I talk to it. Someone in Born To Run called it The Beast and so I do too. I think to myself, "here's The Beast. Yep, I've seen him before. I've gone past him before. I'll make it through again." I keep running and The Beast ends up being behind me, receding into the distance.

Having that kind of control is exhilarating and it is just the opposite of how I feel listening to NPR political coverage.

Finally, I've been trying to get myself into shape and to lose some weight. A month and a half ago I was at 207 pounds (down from 212 on the first of January). Today, I was 196 (a particularly low morning) and I've been averaging 200 pounds for a week or two. I have long thought of 185 as a good weight for me and I see now that it's not an impossible thing, that I have the power to make that happen.

More than just the weight, I see that I don't have to be bound by the 43 years of tradition I have going with eating. I'm not stuck in the rut so much as I have long chosen to be down in the rut because I didn't believe that I had a choice. I've been making simple choices for a month or so and especially in the last week and a half have hit on some important changes. I see what I can control, what I can affect.

Politics is nothing like my eating or the weight atop my scale. My friend said that since I seemed to have some good ideas about how things should be done maybe I should be in politics. I can't imagine I would make a good candidate. Too much baggage, too many words, and so on. And more importantly, that's not where my dreams are.

So for now, I'm out of politics and it will go along fine without me. I just can't do it. I don't have the strength. Besides, as I said in an earlier essay, I'm too busy with other things that are much more important to me. Writing trumps the political newscasts every day of the week and twice on Sundays. Why catch up with the Republicans and Democrats when I can write on?

Write on.