Words Tahliah Higgins
Artwork by Eve Massie
These days there’s an obsession with needing to find out the “unknown” in our lives. When will I have my dream job? When will I build/buy my first home? When will I be getting married or having kids? When will I be able to afford my dream holiday? No matter what area you’re curious about in your life, I guarantee if you don’t know the answer you’ll be trying to predict it. I know being in my early, almost mid 20’s I often find myself needing to have all the answers, but shouldn’t we instead embrace the unknown – after all isn’t the beauty in the journey? Perhaps we need to prepare ourselves for failures and surprises that show up along the pathway to our dream destination. It’s time to accept that our lives may end up totally different to the set plan we made for ourselves and that perhaps it may end up even better and that these small failures along the way happen for a reason. If you find yourself obsessing over the future and the “unknowns” in your life, here are some ways to embrace the “beautiful unknown.”
Start to accept the idea of permanent uncertainty.
Does the idea of permanent uncertainty make you feel uneasy? Don’t worry, same here; but think about it for a second – certainty is an illusion in all aspects of our lives. We can prepare in every way possible for a steady job, solid relationships, and every other area of our lives but sometimes the universe will hit us with a challenge we couldn’t have possibly prepared for. Job security is always subject to change no matter what industry we are in, contracts end, relationships grow or change. Sure, there’s negative aspects to constant uncertainty but just imagine how lacklustre our lives would be if every part of our life was set in stone. With uncertainty there’s chance to grow, transform, try something new and step out of our comfort zone. Start to embrace the benefits of the unknown and try to accept that we don’t know what the future will hold and accept that no matter how much we plan or map out our future, we will never predict it all and some factors are beyond our control.
You can control your reactions.
We may not be able to control external factors in our life but we can choose how we react to whatever situation life throws our way. We can choose to try and learn and make the best of every obstacle, focus on the good rather than the bad times and overall, have positive energy. That’s not to say you can’t feel upset during the tough times but if you can remember that life happens for you not to you, it may help you through those times.
Prepare yourself for the best, the worst and the in-between times.
Embracing the unknown will prepare you for the “unknowns” in the best way possible; whether it’s big exciting news, an overseas getaway, a new job opportunity, or even the hard times. If you can gain enough confidence that you can handle whatever comes your way, you are more likely to feel secure and balanced. That’s not to say you should always prepare for the worst in a situation; be aware that the best case scenario won’t always happen but that it can also. Remember some of the most magical memories can stem from the “unknown”; such as that spontaneous trip, that time you stepped out of your comfort zone and landed a new job, winning lotto (hey, you never know), meeting your best friends or your partner; the best moments in your life aren’t always the ones you planned.
Focus on the “constants” in your life.
Everyone is likely to have some “constants” in their life whether it’s their family and friends, health or exercise regime, hobbies; whatever it may be. Make time for the “small things” every day and also be thankful for what you do have, rather than what you don’t have or haven’t achieved yet.
If you find yourself constantly worrying about the future, take some time to focus on the present moment. Practice “living in the moment” whether that’s meditation or listening to a mindfulness app, going for a walk, relaxing and having a bath, or just remembering to breathe. Choose a practice that suits you to stop the anxiety and stress about the future, and bring your mind back into the present, becoming aware of the beauty in the world around you.