Have you noticed how scary the unknown is? Even just thinking about the unknown makes the muscles in my shoulders wake up. In the abstract, it’s not so bad but when we think about specific unknowns in our lives, it’s so easy to get carried away. Like, how will I ever be able to afford to retire? Is a recession coming? What if I get laid off? What if, what if, what if?
We scheme and plan and try to control for the unknowns. To some degree, we can plan ahead. Certainly, having a plan for retirement is better than just crossing your fingers and hoping it all works out. But too often we tend to imagine that we can eliminate risk and pain and control for all the variables.
If COVID taught me anything, it’s that there is no way to control for every variable. Without the ability to see into the future, there is no way to be in complete CONTROL of everything.
The unknown is so scary because it represents the feeling that we may be out of control at some unknown point in the future. That point could be in ten minutes, ten days or ten years but the mere suggestion that you could take it as it comes makes it seem as though you are living with reckless abandon.
So how do we practice living in the middle? If one end of the spectrum is laissez-faire and the other is an inability to even entertain that you haven’t controlled for every scenario, what does the middle look like? Imagine a life where you did what you could reasonable do (pay your bills, floss, go to the grocery store, etc.) and when the unforeseeable happens, you give yourself the patience and grace to figure it out.
Personally, I think that the internet convinced us culturally that all things are knowable. And if all things are knowable, then we should never be caught unaware. AND if all things are knowable, perfection exists and can be attained. But the internet can’t know it all and certainly can’t solve it all.
I will give you a simple example; where is the best place to live? That is so subjective!!! I lived in Alaska for three years. It is beautiful and is home to some rich Native American cultures and traditions. There is no education like the one you can get by being outside and figuring it out. But I never want to live there again. I much prefer to be warm. But there are tons of people who move there or grow up there who love it and live really happy lives there. Who is right?
It is not possible to eliminate the unknown and it is not possible to make “perfect decisions/choices. What is possible, is to speak to yourself with compassion and trust yourself to solve the problems that come your way. You have in the past, you can here too.
As always, I’m here. If you are ready to work on having the life you want, call me and let’s get started!