I’ve become a fan of not knowing. Not knowing the test results. Not knowing when school will resume. Not knowing when we will line up again to race on our feet or on our bikes. It’s not easy. It’s something I have to work on. Like all the people out there working on their sourdough starters. It’s work. But, believe it or not, not knowing can be a comfort. Like a cozy weighted blanket for all you folks who swear by them and like a light sheet on a cool spring night for the rest of us.
We’ve all waited for a test result or waited as a loved one waited. We tend to be anxious to know. Is it cancer? Malignant? Benign? Operable? Not? Will our kids get in to the school they wanted? Will the campgrounds be open? Will our trip be cancelled? Will I get a refund or a credit? Will school be on-line or resume as usual? Will the college kids go back or are they destined to live at home for their entire college career? Will I ever find yeast?!?? So many questions and so many anxieties. ‘What ifs’ and ‘why nots’ and ‘how comes’ pepper our speech and thoughts all day long.
Somewhere along the line, I’ve learned to remind myself to lean into the not knowing. That’s because I know that once I know the results, the answer, the plan or the fallout, I can’t unknow it. You can’t unknow the diagnosis or the rejection. Just like I’m fond of saying, you can’t put the fitted sheet back in the package.
This is all to say that uncertainty is tough for all of us. I mean, maybe for the monk who has been living in the cave for the past seven years, it’s not. But for the rest of us, we kind of like knowing where we are going and when. But I deeply suggest authentically embracing the “I have no idea what’s going to happen” attitude. When we start to worry about the future, it can make us feel anxious. And sometimes when we feel anxious it’s because we are making up scenarios. And rarely (if ever!) do we create lovely, lilting, fabulous scenarios. More likely they involve things not working out, things sucking, and lots of scary stuff.
So. Choose the unknown. Enjoy it. Enjoy not knowing. Bask in it. Pretend it’s a warm bath on a freezing cold day. Once you know, you can’t rewind. Life’s not a video tape. As a good friend recently said, “run the mile you’re in.”