Saturday, December 21, 2013

Life Is So Strange When You Don't Know

Learning experiences and successful endeavors which I have absorbed over the past few years have been voluminous. I am starting to learn how it feels to persevere, create successful outcomes, practice mindfulness, share my passions with increased conviction, explore possibilities, and embrace vulnerability. There is one area, though, that I sometimes struggle to accept: living with uncertainty.

My future state is “destination unknown.” That is a scary statement to make, since I am rejecting the premise that my future is a preordained set of material, financial, emotional, social, and psychological comforts. For decades, I have been in denial about my future: I preferred not to think about it since I was too busy living in the present. But the recent transformations have made me aware that a blueprint for a future state would help me make choices which could lead me to comfortably embrace uncertainty.

The destination is unknown, but I have a great grasp on the direction I want to pursue in life. And over time, the destination and the direction may change—that is the nature of how I flow.

Very recently I made a big decision to uproot myself sometime within the next twelve months. Since I moved to Portland in 1995, I have lived in the same apartment. For many years, I have felt discontented about my home base, as worn furnishings and clutter contributed to unhappiness. I want to downsize and move into a smaller space that has charm and better reflects my personality. Before I move into a new place, a massive purging and decluttering program will take place. I also want to change my relationship with belongings and become less attached to nonessential stuff. Furthermore, I want to formulate a financial strategy so the move will be sustainable from an economic standpoint.

These directions seem sound and logical, but my destination is unknown. I have no idea if I will be living in the same neighborhood, in a different part of town, or elsewhere altogether. Destination unknown.

In the next twelve months, I also want to pursue fitness goals. I want to run a 10k race and ride several century bicycling events. I want to pursue regular exercise because I want to live a long and healthy life. I am also aware of my family’s health history, which suggests that exercising regularly is paramount for me. I can train with those goals in mind, but there is no guarantee that I will experience a long lifespan. Destination unknown.

Over the next few years, I want to gain experience in disciplines which could benefit my professional career. I want to study and participate in project management, lean methodologies, business communications, presentation skills, and promotion of progressive workplace culture. I want to continue attending conferences that will aid in my learning. I want to pursue activities which tie in with my professional aspirations. But there is no guarantee that I will find my dream job within the next few years. I may not even have a job months from now. Destination unknown.

Uncertainty is scary at times. Taking risks feels like walking on a tightrope between two skyscrapers without a safety net underneath to catch me if I fall. Do I feel scared? Yes. But I will not stop and falter. I am learning to embrace it, through good times and the not-so-good times. I often feel the urges of vanity and security: they want things to stay predictable and safe, feeding into my reluctance to let go.

But uncertainty is invaluable. As I learn new things, create a body of work, and absorb new experiences, new doors which were previously obscured from view will appear. New opportunities will come knocking on these doors. Some of my passions, goals, and areas of interest did not even exist a decade ago—or were previously unavailable had I not embraced uncertainty.

I am living in exciting times. I can draw a blueprint of where I want to go in my life--while accepting outcomes and being open to new possibilities that appear. That is the beauty of uncertainty.

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