Embracing uncertainty

“We know we are no longer who we were, but we do not know who we will yet become”

Fred Mandell

Reinvention by its very nature is captivating and exciting. The possibility of personal renewal, embarking on a new career, or beginning a new relationship often captures our imagination. Nurturing our dreams and planning for a future that we have envisioned for ourselves is an essential part of who we are. But in order to do this, we must first learn to embrace uncertainty.

Making any type of change in our lives means that we are facing some degree of uncertainty. And for most of us, we are often quite adverse to altering our day to day lives. Consider how challenging it has been for many of us since we have begun social distancing and sheltering in place. We have moments where we may experience strong emotional reactions to the impact the coronavirus is having on our lives. This is compounded by the understanding that this will be our new normal for quite some time to come. Uncertainty is part of this new normal.

Fear, frustration, and the weight of our own expectations as well as those of others, could cause us to collapse. Or perhaps we become paralyzed by the emotions that surface during times of uncertainty or change. Indeed, believing that we should achieve something, or aspire to or do a certain thing, can force us blindly down a path that takes us further away from what we are meant to do.

These types of transition are often the most challenging for us but if we are able to find strategies to remain grounded, they can in fact become the most fruitful. I listened this morning to a podcast that was about sharing stories of youth in the child welfare system during this pandemic. One young woman spoke of having to live in a group home and not being able to leave or have people come to visit. At first, she recalled, this isolation from the world, caused her to experience feelings of depression but she talked about moving through that by learning to skateboard and to knit.

These grounding activities helped her not only get through this time of social isolation but she spoke about finally getting to know who she actually is. The hardest part of living through uncertainty and transition seems to happen for all of us regardless of the age or stage of life we are in.

But in the midst of challenge and chaos in our lives comes a hidden opportunity to discover those creative moments that signal to us what we are truly interested and passionate about, and to learn more about who we really are. And it is these learning moments that help to get us excited and motivated to prepare to make changes in our lives. If we choose to acknowledge our fears and take the time we need, to sit with ourselves to figure out where we want to go, our chances of reaching our new destination will increase.

Who knows what we will discover during this time of uncertainty if we reach out to embrace it?

Stay healthy and well!

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