I had a minor epiphany (not a major one – maybe one day!) on the drive home from work yesterday, that went like this: there are really only two things that frustrate me.  The first is not knowing something, and the second is not having control over something.  Interestingly, the two qualities that indicate capacity to handle those frustrating states – patience and serenity – are two qualities that I both lack and want to improve upon.

Now, it’s not that I want to know everything.  There are some things I am okay with not knowing (for example, how to manage a sewage plant, or the current angular momentum of Sagittarius A*) but there are a ton of things I wish I knew, even though a lot of them aren’t realistic (for example, what my friends are actually thinking at any given moment, and how the universe came to be).  One of my core identifiers as a person is my pursuit of knowledge, so I have a hard time accepting that some things are not for me to know (lies! of *course* they are for me to know!)… rather than accept it (serenity) or wait for deeper elucidation through experience (patience), I just need to know now now now

I also don’t really want to control everything.  I am quite happy allowing people I don’t know personally to live their lives, the planets and the stars to do their thing (orbit, rotate, accelerate), and in general for things outside of my sphere of influence to do what they will.  But I do want more (direct) control over my life, and often that involves other people who I accept as free-willed individuals, and therefore should be outside of my control.  It is a very hard lesson, one I understand intellectually but which still escapes me instinctively, to relinquish control over others and external situations, and by so doing achieve greater happiness.