“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you’re going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.”
(C. JoyBell C)
I keep being faced with big life decisions. The kind of decisions you know are going to split your life into multiple paths of where you might end up. I’m Dorothy at a crossroads where every road seems to be the yellow brick one but I don’t have some peculiar scarecrow shouting hints at me as of which path to take.
I often think about the idea of control and how much control I really have. There’s over fifty types of ice cream and when I’m standing in the aisle at the supermarket I feel like I have choices and the freedom to chose. It feels good. But there’s so many seemingly more important things that I have no control over. It’s terrifying. Life constantly throws us trivial curve balls; late trains, unfriendly emails, falling into a puddle on the way to work. Worse yet, life can throw you some real curve balls which just about knock you sideways; you lose your job, you break up, the ceiling falls in (hopefully not all at the same time). Most of these things are completely out of your control.
Now I’m faced with these decisions, I love planning and the feeling of being in the drivers seat of my life. I still have this nagging suspicion that no matter what I chose there may be a man dressed as a lion about to jump out and surprise me with a completely different turn of events.
How is anyone supposed to deal with that?
If I’m struggling to make a mundane ice cream choice, or even a seeming big life decision, does it help me to know that no matter what choice I make the outcome might be completely unexpected?
I always remind myself of while I was travelling when I let go of all thoughts of my choices being right or wrong. I ended up reassuring a wonderful friend I’d met due to a random turn of events after I decided to move into a tented jungle community, she was doubting her decisions and her current lifestyle and I said with certainty, “Every choice I’ve made up to this point has always been the right one”. I was trying to comfort her but also remind myself that everything I was choosing was always taking me down a path that felt right. I am not an expert decision maker. I was just fully committed to what I’d decided and accepted fully the trials, tribulations and outstanding things that came about after that decision.
I’m not always that certain. It was about 5 months after that conversation that I was going insane doubting what to do with my life and being indecisive. It was my very own advice from before that saved me. I had made a necklace which featured a tiny bottle with a message from the same friend inside. I removed that message sure that it was going to make me feel better. And there was my own words “Every choice I’ve made up to this point has always been the right one”. It reminded me that everything I needed was already in that room with me. It made me feel stupid, terrified and free, an incredibly crazy free human.
I think we all have to handle our expectations. You can have all the best intentions and think you’ve got everything all in order but sometimes life knows better. Recognising that my expectations have little effect on my reality is freeing. Rather than stressing when everything falls apart, I have to hold up my hands and recognise that’s the beautiful unpredictability of life. We all make choices big and small each day and sometimes they’ll turn out spot on, other times life may seem to miss the mark. It’s having ownership and acceptance of those outcomes that’ll make this uncertain life feel empowering and right.
I’m choosing the left hand turn, despite there being no scarecrow advising me to do so. I’m excited about the possibilities and about the possible pitfalls. It was my choice and I’m going to get to see where that takes me, which is the real freedom. I’m making a choice without being burdened by the belief that I’m completely in control of the outcome. It’s trickier than picking an ice cream flavour but it still tastes pretty sweet.
How do you face life’s many decisions? Do you feel like your in control? Does the idea that your not free or terrify you?