Living with I Don’t Know

uncertainty quoteFor the past five months I’ve had to become chummy with not knowing. It’s not an organically formed relationship. In fact, I’m making myself do it…kinda like when your parents made you play with their friends’ kids who came over because it would just be awkward and rude not to.

Parent: Chris, why don’t you go and play with Darla.
Me: (shakes head) Mmm-mm.
Parent: Go on now.
Me: I don’t wanna.
Parent: (sternly) Chris!
Me: (running out of room) I said NOOOOO!!

I did try resistance. Or, maybe it was more like pushing. In any case, it was forcing; not “letting go” or being easy with the unfolding of events. I wanted to know what was coming. I wanted to be prepared. I wanted to have more control. What resulted was frustration, anxiety, and fatigue.

It’s not easy living with “I don’t know” to questions like: What will you do for work once you’re in California? Are you really “back” now? How will you keep your marriage going long distance and how long is that for? Where do you see yourself five years from now? A year?

I’ve seen that look in the other person’s eyes as I try to explain why I am 39 years old and have lived at my parents’ for the last couple of months. And, that’s when I start wondering with them too: What is going on here?

The short answer: I don’t know.

Ok, then, what about this…what would happen if those words were viewed as tickets to freedom? What if that sentence was not covered in shameful vagueness but draped in patient curiosity? What if instead of screaming “NO!” I shouted, “Sure, let’s go play!”?

I’m trying to be friends with uncertainty. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  1. Lovely piece. My Zen teacher speaks often of a “basic friendliness” towards life. It isn’t always simple. But it feels powerful. Be well~

  2. Thank you. I appreciate your comment. Curious, where does one find a Zen teacher? Thanks.

  3. Therese B. said:

    I’m in a similar boat as you as I try to stay afloat while making a career transition. Ambiguity is usually not a friend, but a foe to many, and your post has helped me now think of ambiguity as a neutral companion on the journey – a companion who holds up a mirror that perhaps reflects how we approach the unknown journey throughout the experience: with fear and anxiety, hope and courage- singularly or all at once sometimes.

    Thank you!

  4. Amy said:

    Christine…your writing always speaks to me. Living with ‘I don’t knows’ are hard especially when friends ask you those kind of questions only wanting clear answers since they love you. I guess life is full of uncertainties. I hope the future allows you to continue to find happiness and appreciate the little things. One thing for certain is that you are not alone when it comes to not knowing the future.

  5. thanks, Amy. So great to read words like these and know I am not alone in questioning things. Hope all is well with you too. Thank you for reading and “being” here.

  6. Very true, Therese! All those feelings can happen all at once and our approach to uncertainty makes all the difference in how we go along. Thank you for sharing and I hope your career transition is everything you intend. All the best.

  7. A wonderful post of authenticity, insight, and stepping into freedom. Thank you for sharing.

  8. i love that quote. and this post. (word)

Please share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: