There’s not much that’s certain in our lives—maybe death and taxes and adult acne, but that’s about it. I feel like I’m constantly making plans for my life only to have them be interrupted and changed over things completely out of my control. The universe comes in and says, “Sorry Katie, but that’s just not the way your life is going to go.” I try to be okay with unexpected change and the unknown, but it’s a constant battle I fight. I want to embrace this uncertainty, but my anxiety holds my arms behind my back and whispers in my ear, “Be afraid. Be very afraid.”
When I try to imagine a clear picture of what my future will look like, and all I see are blurry visions, that is when the panic sets in. That is when I start to feel hot and sweaty and out of control. That is when the anxiety takes hold. It’s like someone else is driving my car, and I am strapped down in the backseat. I want to drive my car. I want to know where I’m going. And I want to be the one getting me there.
These are the times when I wish I could know where I’ll be and when I’ll get there and if I’ll be okay. Because at the end of the day, all I want to be is okay.
Take dating, for example. Everyone hates the beginning of the dating process, right? Everything is new and exciting (sort of), but everything is also completely up in the air and terrifying. With each unanswered text message or questionable Snapchat, we’re sent into a tizzy—wondering what is going on and wishing that we could just bypass all this uncertainty and get to a safer place. Do they like me? Do they just want a “friends with benefits” type thing? Am I coming off too strong? Should I ask him out?
We all just wish we could get to a place of comfort when it comes to dating and relationships. That place in a relationship where you can wear zit cream and chew with your mouth open, and you don’t have to worry about a thing because you know that other person will still love you. We all just wish we could get to a place of comfort in our general lives too. We want to feel secure and protected. We want to feel at ease when we think about what’s to come in our lives–not panicked and afraid. This safe place is tangible, but before we can get there, we need to accept that our life paths may not be exactly what we want or what we planned.
There are no guarantees in life. There are no sure things. We can plan and prep and organize for days, but life will still throw curveballs. Things will still happen that are completely out of our control. We have to understand that life’s unpredictability is what makes it so great and exciting and worth living. We may have to jump to Plan B when things don’t exactly work out the way we wanted them to, but that builds character.
That builds us, as humans, to be adaptable and understanding and resilient.
Those crazy moments that blindside us when we’re not paying attention will get in the way of all our grand plans, but this is something that we all need to try to accept. We’ll be better people for it. Anxiety and fear of the future can cripple us, but I think that once we accept the promise of uncertainty, we can learn to embrace it when it comes.
Katie recently finished her undergrad at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. She enjoys wasting hours on Facebook and tweeting things no one cares about. When asked the question, “Do you do marathons?” She promptly responds, “Of course! Which show?” Follow her @KatieGarrity! Or read her personal blog where she talks incessantly about Ryan Gosling and hummus here!