I want to embrace uncertainty. I want to be able to stare boldly into the randomness of this world and step forward with confidence and excitement. I want to thrive in a chaotic world, for a chaotic world it is. I want to be shocked, awed, and bewildered by the twists and turns of life. I want to feel the current beneath my feet and the wind behind me pushing me down a road of mystery and intrigue.
I am a walking contradiction. On one hand, I try so hard to nail down every detail and facet of my future. I meticulously plan out my days and become overwhelmed when there are unexpected things that come into my path, like with my job and relationships. On the other hand, I love not having a plan sometimes. I love the thrill of not knowing what is down the road, what I am going to experience, or even where I am going to rest my head at night, like when I’m out on weekend adventures and exploring new places.
This weekend, I went exploring Death Valley. I remember very vividly seeing the desert sunset reveal the intricate colors of that desolate, isolated land. I was hours from home and had no plans as to where I was going to go or where I was going to rest. I was exhausted, and yet the uncertainty of what would happen next was not frightening but stimulating and effervescent! Seeing the setting sun in an unfamiliar place hundreds of miles from home was intoxicating. In that moment, I embraced…whatever may come.
The mindset I have when exploring is completely different from the mindset I have in day to day life. Not knowing what I will see and discover, being surprised at the unexpected, and using my wits, maps, and resources to figure out my next move is a new addiction I have gained with my wanderlust. I want more and more to take this mindset with me in every aspect of my life, for most of the time I am very fearful of uncertainty. With work, I worry about what case I will get next. With relationships, I worry about what will develop and how I will maintain it. With idle time, I worry about what I am going to fill my time with and if I will be productive, creative, or responsible enough to use my time wisely.
I’m constantly calculating the path ahead. This is a disease of the mind and it keeps me from being truly happy in the moment. This need for predictability is constraining me to a future that is essentially the past. Think about it, if I can totally predict my future and be comforted that it will be the same as things I have handled before, then I am essentially wishing to recreate my past, over and over again.
The necessary change for embracing randomness is simple but not easy. It’s a mindset shift. There are two ways of seeing almost everything in life. You can look at new challenges as daunting and frightening and an avenue where you will fail or embarrass yourself. Or you can look at new challenges as exciting endeavors for you to test your skills, your adaptability, and your versatility. If you succeed, celebrate! If you fail, celebrate too! Who cares, it’s just part of it. Failures are only inevitable building blocks to growing as a person anyway. Fearing and resisting the new will only solidify us in a rigid life of regimented happenings. That is not where life is had.
I want out. I don’t want to live in fear anymore. I want to embrace the random and understand that the essential nature of life is….change and chaos. And that’s okay. The nature of the universe is beyond my ability to control, break, and bend to my will. The universe will not fit neatly into a box no matter how hard I try to conform it.
I am on a flowing cosmic river of energy and time and who knows where the current will sweep me off to next. The unknown, the uncertain, the unexpected are the flavors, the spices, and the intrigues of life. If I can take with me the attitude I have while getting lost in new places, I will have conquered myself. I will have broken through the illusion of solid ground. I will have basked in the fountain of chaos and tasted the fruits of turbulence. I will have ironically taken charge of my life by understanding that I am not in charge of any of it. I want to stop resisting what’s coming…and just drift…peacefully down…to wherever….
All of this reminds me of some of my favorite lyrics of all time by Tool in their song Lateralus so I will just leave you with this…
“I embrace my desire to
Feel the rhythm, to feel connected
Enough to step aside and weep like a widow
To feel inspired
To fathom the power
To witness the beauty
To bathe in the fountain
To swing on the spiral
To swing on the spiral
Of our divinity
And still be a human
With my feet upon the ground
I lose myself between the sounds
And open wide to suck it in
I feel it move across my skin
I’m reaching up and reaching out
I’m reaching for the random or whatever will bewilder me
Whatever will bewilder me
And following our will and wind we may just go where no one’s been
We’ll ride the spiral to the end and may just go where no one’s been.”