The unknown is perhaps the scariest element of our lives and how prepare for the future. But I have come to experience that sometimes the certainties of the future can be the hardest to grapple with.
Knowing exactly the things that await you can sometimes be even more difficult than dealing with the unknown. Sure, the unknown can knock you out of your comfort zone and off your game, but at the same time there is a sense of power and independence when dealing with it. I’ve found that when something unexpected happens it’s a true test of our character and creativity in how we deal with it.
But what about the obstacles we know we will have to deal with? I’ve noticed in myself that when dealing with things I’m planning for, I tend to fall into a routine that has me feeling deadpan.
For me, the biggest future certainty is money. After buying a new car, finishing school and planning a move what I know is that I’m thousands of dollars in debt and the certainty of paying off student loans and making car payments can sometimes be paralyzing. It can sometimes push me to put money above all else. Even when I know money is not the end all and be all. I’ve sacrificed hangouts and fun times for longer shifts and bigger paychecks. In the long run I may have paid my bills off a little earlier, but I could’ve compromised and squeezed in a hangout that could’ve been one helluva night.
Beyond money, the future certainty of separation for me tends to be the scariest. As a young adult you are immersed in relationships that are fueled by school. Day in and day out you see the same people, you communicate constantly with and nurture those relationships. But with every educational checkpoint comes the change of graduation. You move on and some people stick together and some separate. It’s the nature of the beast, I guess.
Relationships are now forced to stand the test of distance. Some relationships become stronger proving that absence really can make the heart grow fonder. Others soften and settle into simple hi’s and bye’s or those you only can maintain when the gang gets back together. It’s tough to think that some relationships, however strong now, may only be temporary. They may only feed a purpose in the now and far off into the future the relationship can tend to grow strange and unfamiliar. Despite this feeling, one that I hate because I try to nurture all my relationships, separation is inevitable but it doesn’t make it horrible. I find that over the course of the years some relationships I can maintain daily, some I’ll see once in a blue moon and others at a wedding, or sadly, a funeral. It doesn’t make that relationship any less authentic than when it was at its strongest. It just means its evolved and its purpose has changed. Maybe now it’s just a reminder of you, then. Maybe it’s a sign to move on to bigger and better things. Whatever the case, relationship transitions are inevitable and always a certainty. It’s just how we deal with it that shows how strong we are and how we are willing to grow as a result.
The most definite certainty of all is that our time on earth has an expiration date. It can be morbid to talk about death and dying but it is what most certainly happens to all of us. Although there is no specific date and time that we can plan for, we all know that our time on this earth will come to an end. When that time arrives I would imagine in those split seconds we would be able to look back on our lives and wonder: Was it all worth it? Were the frustrations and anxieties worth it? Was it worth putting up with the stress and obstacles? For me, some of the negative things in life that cross our paths teach us some valuable lesson, while others just try to push us off course. We could either invest and get caught up, wasting time and reverting our attention to things that don’t truly matter, or we could focus on what makes us happy. Nothing makes that juxtaposition more real than the certainty that we all will die. While, it is an uncomfortable thought, I think realizing we all have an end date motivates us more to live more for happiness, the good people in our lives and the passions that makes us give back to the world.
While we tend to focus most on the uncertainties of the future – because they do pack their hefty punch, the future certainties are not any less scary or real. Maybe if we take a good, honest look at what we know is coming, whether it’s bills, changes or our own mortality, maybe then we can live a better, focused and purposeful life.