So in light of the lack of control that I have over these devices, it should not surprise me that the more nebulous parts of life don't respond to my preferences either. I grew up in a large family with no money, a hard working mother but a dad who did not support the family financially. We moved almost every year and frequently had power, gas, and phones turned off for non-payment. Turmoil and uncertainty was the rule of every day. In my youthful naivete, I determined that if a person had a job, worked hard, and took advantage of any education available, all of the other crises in life would disappear. If we got good jobs that we liked and worked hard, we were set for life. In a stable environment, our children would be accomplished, delightful, happy teenagers and successful adults. They have become successful and wonderful adults, but the teenage years were not the smooth road I envisioned.
Jobs disappear and after a certain age, it becomes difficult to find another. Furnaces break down in the dead of winter and new vehicles break down on the road. Illness and tragedy strikes our loved ones and cakes fall. Because of course, what my plan for life left out, was that there is a lot we don't control. Our preferences rarely matter.
So while my preference at this time would be to be to be researching a route with my husband for our spring camping trip and planning meals that will travel easily, I am researching keeping a cancer patient comfortable and planning meals that are easily digestible. We are second-guessing earlier decisions: was this or that treatment a mistake? Should we have sought a second opinion? The amount of information is astounding and confusing.
I am reading a book that I highly recommend: Being Mortal by Dr. Atul Gawande. He discusses goals to get the most out of our later years. One chapter covers his father's struggle with a tumor on the spine. At one point, after radiation and surgery failed to stem the disease, he and his parents are meeting with the oncologist to discuss chemotherapy. The oncologist presents a plethora of drugs that could be used, all with varying effectiveness and side effects. Dr. Gawande and his parents (also both doctors) are overwhelmed with the choices and decisions. No wonder we are confused and frustrated if the process stumps three doctors.
It boils down to advice given by many wise people through the ages: we can only control our own actions and reactions. We can't control the wind; we can only take shelter from it.