They say the only constant in life is change. I believe that to be true. And if there is anything certain about change, it’s uncertainty. Just when you think things are moving along according to plan, Blam! something changes. Jobs, relationships, homes, and people come and go. Even when we look forward to a particular change — the beginning of a new year, a new job, or a new relationship — it’s natural to feel a mix of anticipation and fear. What if the job, relationship, or year doesn’t work out? What if the house deal falls through, or you aren’t able to finish that degree?
It’s natural to want to know the answers; we feel most secure when we do. I’m reminded of how my children, especially when young, always wanted to know what was going to happen next, and they rebelled when sudden changes were thrown their way. As adults, we may have learned to deal with the emotional curves more adeptly, at least on the outside, but the uncertainty that comes with change can still throw us for a loop.
Uncertainty makes me edgy, as though I’m walking in the dark. At any moment I might stub my toe, walk into a wall, or off a ledge. Uncertainty — the insecurity of not knowing if I’m going in the right direction or if I’m safe — prevents me from moving forward as boldly as I would like. I respond by inching my way along. I make lists, weigh alternatives, create the insurance policies of Plans B and C.
Yet uncertainty can lead to something wonderful as easily as to disaster. In a recent flying dream, just before my feet left the ground — that moment, that second when I didn’t know if it would work, my heart fluttered in my chest and seemed to move up into my throat. And then, suddenly, liftoff and elation! But the elation was mixed with dread: Would I stay aloft or would I crash to the ground? Only when I was certain that I really could fly did I allow myself to soar and take joy in the flying. But that brief moment of uncertainty seemed an eternity of torture. And so it is in real life.
This Week’s Writing Prompts:
- Freewrite for ten minutes about uncertainty.
- Do you remember feeling uncertain as a child? What did you feel uncertain about, what did you do to handle it, and how have your responses as a child affected your relationship to uncertainty as an adult?
- What do you do when you feel uncertain about your future? How do you handle those feelings and in what ways do you try to take control?
- What is uncertain in your life right now? What do you hope for and what are you afraid of relating to that uncertainty? Write two scenarios: 1) what you imagine life will be like if what you hope for occurs, and 2) what you imagine life will be like if what you fear occurs.
- What are the positive and negative aspects of uncertainty? Which weighs more for you, and why do you think this is so?
- If there was one area of life you could choose to be absolutely certain about, what would it be and why?
- If you could remove all uncertainty from life, would you? Why or why not?
I invite you to leave a comment and share your thoughts on this subject.
Image Credit: Nicu Buculei