Embracing Uncertainty

In the midst of this time of great uncertainty, I’ve stumbled upon an observation: Those who are dealing the least well with the uncertainty are those who refuse to accept it.

Those that want to know how long the schools will be closed. Those that want a hard plan for when and how to re-open businesses. Those that want to know, exactly, when things will get back to normal.

These are the people that are suffering the most during these times. These are the folks I see being frustrated and angry. These are the folks flailing about trying to figure out what to do. Because they are seeking and hoping for answers which are, at this point or any point in the foreseeable future, impossible to accurately give.

Those that have worked to become comfortable with uncertainty — the peace that can come from not knowing — are the ones that I see doing the best with the current circumstances. They are perfectly OK with accepting and working with each day as it comes. As new information about how to proceed arises, they proceed. If not, they make the best of where they are. If we accept uncertainty instead, we can take that energy and focus on what we can do. We can appreciate what opportunities we do have. We can make do.

Therefore, it has occurred to me that the problem is not the uncertainty. The problem is in working against the uncertainty. Of wishing and hoping and demanding that which is impossible to gain. By setting a date you’d like to re-open only to have your Governor move the date of the stay at home order back. Wanting school to be back in session by the end of April only to receive an announcement that they expect to be closed for the rest of the year. In fact, uncertainty only causes worry and anxiety when we wish/work/want against it.

When we accept things the way they are, when we embrace not knowing, only then can we make do with the way things are. Only then can we do the best we can with the situation we’re in. If you are stuck at home on a beautiful day, wishing you could be somewhere else will only make things worse. Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, focus on what you can.

This is not the time for dates and plans beyond the here and now. This is the time for taking the here and now and making something of it. If you need something to look forward to, look forward to the possibility that you might, maybe, have the same opportunity tomorrow. Maybe not. You don’t know. We never do. Isn’t that amazing? I think so.