Learning the Same Lesson, Over and Over: On Maturation

kayaking through rapids
Victorious through the falls!

I get frustrated, a lot. And easily.

Someone told me recently┬áthat maturity – real, true maturity – is a combination of three aspects. Truthfully, I think this is oversimplified, but for the purposes of this post, it will do.
The aspects:
1. Ability to formulate and achieve goals (Delayed Satisfaction)
2. Impulse Control
3. Acceptance of that which you cannot control
Oh God.
Other things – apart from this list – I have handled. I care about other people; I accept the consequences of my actions.
#1 even, I have down pat. Delayed satisfaction? Goal setting and achieving? Not a problem for me.
But #2? #3?
#2 I’m at least on the path. As kids, if my sister took my scrunchie or something, I’d smack her. Now, we’re a little more civilized. No hitting, no biting. (The same cannot be said for Ray Rice.) When my boss asks me to do something I don’t want to do, I don’t stomp my foot and yell.
But sometimes, my impulse control is not great. Sometimes, I get frustrated in traffic. Or when the grocery store self-checkout machines malfunction and you have to wait for someone to come reset the machine, I often want to yell: “Why is the scale reading so important that I can’t just hold this one bottle of Tylenol while I’m paying?!”
I haven’t done that, but I have muttered: “I hate these machines.” under my breath.
Forget it.
For me, number 3 is the hardest. I know people who have no problems with #3 though – it’s #1 and #2 that tie them in knots. When you ask them why they haven’t started on that thing they said they wanted to complete 4 years ago, they shrug and say: “I was busy”. Their road rage makes me look like the world’s most self-possessed, calm driver.
For me, when there’s something I can’t control? When I come up against an unexpected turn?
I rage. I scream, I cry. “It’s not right, it’s not fair!” I complain constantly, bitterly.
A lot of the time, I’m right – it’s not right, and it’s not fair. For example, it’s not fair that women are compensated less than men for the same work. It’s not right.
But what am I going to do? Rage about it all the time?
No – because you have to play the cards you’re dealt, not the ones you wish you’d been dealt.
That’s where the “acceptance” part comes in – you accept what you can’t control, and then set a goal to contribute to increased equality, long-term- or whatever.
This lesson – about accepting what I cannot control, or at least not letting myself become consumed by the injustice – it comes up for me all the time.
And I wonder if the lesson will keep coming up for me until I learn.
Sometimes, there are bumps along the way, getting to where you want to go. Patience!
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