I never realized up until very recently how much I try to control certain things in my life. I often use up a lot of my mental energy trying to plan and predict things that I’ll never be able to plan and predict because quite frankly, uncertainty scares the sh*t out of me.
For example, lately I have been driving myself semi-crazy over planning my next move after I graduate from university in May. I feel overwhelmed with the uncertainty of my options: should I stay in Boston or move somewhere new? If I move somewhere new, will I even like it? Will I miss Boston? Should I go to graduate school? Should I do communications or clinical psychology? Should I find a way to combine them both? What if I’m not good enough? What if I pick the wrong career path? What if I end up regretting my decisions? What if I don’t end up making enough money to support myself?
All these doubts and worries about my future take me out of the present. Yet, all I have is now; this exact moment. Trying to predict the next “right” move and control the uncontrollable just leaves me anxious and overwhelmed. Though it’s true that I am going through one of life’s major transitions and am therefore dealing with a lot more uncertainty than usual, the reality is that most days start and end with uncertainty. I may find comfort in planning my weekly schedule, for example, however it never goes exactly as I originally planned it. Life is and always will be unpredictable. You never know what a new day will bring and it never unfolds exactly as you expected it to.
What helps me in this situation is to practice accepting that life is uncertain, practice making a conscious effort to live in the present moment and surrendering control. I find so much comfort in reminding myself that I don’t need to obsessively try and control every outcome. I just need to trust the process. I have no idea what’s in store for me over the next couple of months. It’s uncertain. It may be unfulfilling and hard, or it may fulfill me in ways I never imagined.
Of course, I should still set intentions, goals and take action, however I need to accept that I can’t control the outcome. This positive way of thinking about uncertainty did not come naturally to me. It’s new and different, and works so much better than just getting myself worked up over something I have zero control over.
Additionally, I have come to realize that some of the best things that have happened in my life are the things that were completely unplanned and unexpected. This past summer took a turn for the worst, but I am so thankful that it happened that way because if it didn’t, I wouldn’t have met my boyfriend who I’m happily in love with, I wouldn’t have decided to live a healthier lifestyle, and I wouldn’t have met certain friends who I am so thankful I have in my life right now. So today, I am choosing to focus on the possibilities and embracing the uncertainty of my future and that makes me a lot more excited for it.
“The reality is that in our fast changing, unpredictable and accelerated world, it’s those who are willing to embrace uncertainty and take decisive action, risky action, despite the many “unknowns” who will reap the greatest rewards.” – Margie Warell, Forbes.