Wow. I haven’t posted here in a week. Life seemed to swirl around me in shifting currents of change and uncertainty lately, and I couldn’t find not one humorous little story to convey in the midst of it. So I chose not to write for a few days, and I miss it. I miss this. I miss sharing with all of you and then reading what you share back with me and knowing that on some level, we connected.
Some really good friends of mine are moving away, and when they go, they will take a lot of my “normal” with them. Things that have been routine, parts of my life that were stable and secure, things I was sure of. And what’s left in the dust and remnants of their departure is the unknown.
Isn’t the unknown a weird concept?
We tend to be scared of the unknown. I was talking with one of my moving friends yesterday, and he asked why we always think the unknown will be bad. It may actually be better than what we had, he said. And he is right, though I would never want him to know I have acknowledged that publicly.
When things change, sometimes they do get better. Sometimes we actually make a choice to change things in the hope that they will get better. We take a new job, learn a new skill, adjust our eating habits, or let go of unhealthy relationships. We do these things in the hope that the unknown at the end of that choice will be better than the known in the present.
I look back on my decision to leave my home, my family, and everyone I had ever known and move twelve hours away to a different state to pursue a career after college. That was scary. There was a lot of unknown. But it was my choice, and I was making that choice to go into the unknown in the hopes that it would be better. And it was.
It hasn’t even been a year since I took the dramatic leap from full-time employment into full-time pursuit of a dream. That was scary. And still is. There was a lot of unknown. And still is. But it was my choice, and I was making that choice to go into the unknown in the hopes that it would be better. And it has been.
I think that when the unknown is sprung upon us without it being our choice, it’s harder to embrace it. It’s harder to be hopeful and look at the situation and think it’s probably going to better than it was before. Somehow if we have no choice in the matter, our minds automatically go to what could happen that would make it worse than it was before.
Why can’t we just live each day by the 8-ball? When I was a kid, I had this 8-ball (that anyone who grew up in the 80s will probably remember). You asked a question and shook the 8-ball, and the answer to everything you ever needed to know would slowly rise to the top from the murky depths of the blue liquid inside the ball. It was supposed to be magical and mystical. It was hardly ever accurate. I don’t even remember all the possible answers . . . I think it was just yes, no, and maybe. Was there a probably? Seems likely? Not looking good? Do any of you remember the choices?
I wish I had kept mine. I wish I could say, “If I do this, will it work out okay?” and then within a few shakes, I’d know. Yes, No or Maybe. “Is this person going to hurt me if I trust them?” Shake-shake-shake, Seems likely. “Is that the right job for me?” Shakey-shake–Not looking good. Wouldn’t that be awesome to have some completely objective source of information that would just answer you on the spot so you could avoid heartache and disappointment and risk?
Which ties into what is probably my biggest beef with God. If He could design the incredible beauty that we have on this planet, and he could create the human body, which is often considered the most efficient machine ever created, could he not have come up with a system of two-way communication that was more direct than praying and then having to be still and listening intently? Because I don’t do either of those things very well. Couldn’t I just text him and say “What should I do?” and have Him text back “Do this.” And then I’d know it was right.
I guess what it boils down to is that I just don’t like the unknown unless it is my idea, I have some measure of control over it, and it is something that I’m able to boldly go into with some measure of assurance that it will be pleasant. Or at the least, better than where I already am. I don’t really think that’s unreasonable, do you?
But that’s not how life works. That’s not how the unknown unfolds. We are not in control.
My friends are heading into the unknown as they pick up their life and move with their kids into the next leg of their life journey. And I am excited for them. I really am. I have every hope for them that the unknown will lead them somewhere that is better than where they were. That it will be new beginning and they will make new discoveries and have new experiences that will enrich their lives.
We will still be friends. But I will miss them. My unknown here will be without their presence in the way I am used to. I can’t think of any way that will be better. So I won’t lie and tell you that I am going to “embrace” it. But I guess at the very least I can stop wallowing around in the dread and fear of it and put my big girl panties on to meet it head on. I don’t have to like the unknown to be strong enough to face it, do I?