Have you seen the movie Wreck it Ralph yet? It is a very cute movie that our whole family enjoyed several times. If you haven’t seen it, the story is about a video game character that wrecks things and a character that fixes them. It is in their programming to do so and if they were to change their ways, the game would be broken forever.
I was speaking with a woman a few days back and I couldn’t help but relate myself to one of the characters from this movie. I am like Fix it Felix. Honestly, I can’t believe that I am writing about this, but it is actually what was on my mind so what the heck.
Anyway, Fix it Felix. must go around and repair all of the damage that Ralph does. He is compelled to…. no, he is programmed to. He can’t do anything else because it is his job to fix and so that is what he does.
So I started thinking about the things that I am programmed to do. Of course I can relate to Felix, because all I do is fix things. I fix toys, boo boos, dishwashers (that’s a new one by the way), messes, toilets, husbands, kids, parents, siblings. You name it, and at one time or another I have had my hands deep in the trenches of fixing it. A problem arises and for some reason I feel compelled to fix it.
Trust me, I fail more than I succeed, but none the less I do try to fix anything and everything.
Just tonight, Brian had already left for work, and I found myself fixing an air conditioning vent in our bedroom. It is an old fashioned vent and the handle on it keeps closing so that the air can’t come in. Our room is unbearable when the temp is over 75 so this was a necessary fix. Sure, I could have waited and had Brian do it, but… I am Fix it Felix! Just kidding, but honestly seeing a problem and then solving it is like an adrenaline rush for me.
I love the opportunity to fix something. I hate when things are broken but I sure do feel great when I am able to fix them. It isn’t just things that I fix, or try to fix either. I find myself compelled to fix situations, people, feelings, anything. I will go all day long thinking of ways to fix areas of my life that I am not satisfied with. I obsess over the broken and I can’t wait to come up with a way to fix it.
I am programmed to fix.
When Brian and I argue, which isn’t terribly often but it does happen, he usually is the one that walks off to cool off. This is a smart tactic. It gives the opportunity to settle down and think clearly. Come back when you are in a better frame of mind. For me, when he walks away, my mind immediately goes into what do I do next mode. How can I fix this thing that we are arguing about. What can I say to make everyone go back to happy. I follow him with the intentions of fixing and usually fail miserably.
I struggle with letting things just be broken for a minute. As soon as I notice the broken I start to tinker. It’s in my programming. I get out my tools, whether they be words or actual tools and I get to work. No time to waste!
As I spoke with this woman about my fixing obsession, I realized that I was already thinking about how to fix it. Wow! I am nuts! I guess it could be worse, I could be the wrecker.
So where do I begin to fix my fixing problem? This is a tough one. I think it starts with the source. I think that the reason that I feel so compelled to fix, is about control for me. I want a hand on pretty much everything. I have the worst time letting go of control. I have the hardest time with when I go to work. I am not there but I want things to be my way. It takes a lot of deep breaths on my part to not get upset over the way things are when I am not around.
Tonight I was home to put the kids to bed which only happens a night or two a week. As we brushed teeth, I noticed that Cassidy’s toothpaste was goopy and gross. It was obvious that she has been putting the paste on for herself the past few nights. This is not a practice when I am here for bedtime. As I put my hand in the goop on the side of the tube my heart started to race.
I could do what I would normally do. I would yell and demand that she never touch the toothpaste until I deem that she is ready to do it without making a mess.
Tonight, instead of doing what I was programmed to do, I did something different. I told Cassidy that if she is going to do toothpaste herself when I am not here, then she needs to clean up the tube when she is done. I took a deep breath and realized that when I am not here things happen differently than when I am. There is nothing that I can do about that.
So I guess I need to figure out how to give up control. Whew… just the thought makes me tense. I think that I also need to realize that sometimes it is not my job to fix things.
I go to work and see things that I don’t think are efficient and even though they don’t effect me, I am compelled to say something. I just can’t let it go and go about my own business. I offer suggestions when no one even asks. I want to fix and make things better when maybe no one else saw a problem at all.
Tomorrow, I am going to wake up and fix nothing! Well that is a lie. I won’t be able to help myself on that just yet. What I can do is try to remind myself that fixing may be in my programming, but I can reprogram too. I am going to reprogram myself to give up just a little bit of control (baby steps) and I am going to remember that it is not my job to fix everything. Sometimes I have to realize that I am not in charge and that life is just fine the way that it is.
I am waking up happy with the broken and unbroken and I am going to attempt to only fix the actual things that need it like dishwashers and toilets. Better yet, I am going to get Brian to fix those things. Wish me luck!