Wednesday, November 16, 2005


certainty is overrated

ah life as a twentysomething, it's filled with exploration, fun, adventure, and lots and lots of worry. what's next? what if i don't like this new job? how will i ever pay off all these student loans? wondering where you are headed in life, or if you are even headed anywhere at all, is a common worry among those of us in our twenties. having these worries might not be so troubling if the prevailing message from those a few years ahead of us is that they are quite certain where they are headed and we should be too.

the reality of course if you scratch a millimeter below the surface is that adults are often no more certain than people in their twenties about where they are headed or how they are going to get there. i've come to the conclusion that most people are in fact not all that certain, and yet there seems to be an almost compulsory expectation that we look certain and persuade others to see us as such.

i recently finished reading ranier maria rilke's letters to a young poet. it's an interesting book consisting of rilke's letters to an aspiring poet who attends the same school that rilke did in his youth. the book has woven through it the concepts of unfolding, of patience and of living life fully without certainty of what is to come.

i particularly liked this passage:

Always trust yourself and your own feeling...if it turns out that you are wrong, then the natural growth of your inner life will eventually guide you to other insights. Allow your judgments their own silent, undisturbed development, which, like all progress, must come from deep within and cannot be forced or hastened.

later in the book he goes on to say this:

You must realize that something is happening to you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand will not let you fall...Why do you persecute yourself with the question of where all this is coming from and where it is going? Since you know, after all, that you are in the middle of transitions and you wished for nothing so much as to change.

rilke seems not only unconcerned with certainty, he seems to advise against it. growth, change and transition are what life is made up of and one can never be completely open to these forces if she tries to keep to a certain path or govern where her life takes her.

how might you view the inevitable periods of transition in life differently if you saw them as opportunities, as the point of living rather than a difficulty to be endured?

being certain is overrated. i've decided to unabashedly declare myself uncertain. i am, so why not be real about it. and i'm hoping that with this uncertainty will come openness, fresh ideas, growth and change.

i'd love to hear your thoughts on certainty and life, as always post 'em here!

dream big,

Nice post. I also have similar thoughts on certainty. I dont hate being uncertain about things..and try to experiment a lot for knowing my innermost desires and feelings..and yes it has not always given me the best results, but I dont mind that..
keep up the great writting..

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