Yay! Time for another life lesson from a 26-year-old who is learning more about what she doesn’t know than what she does 🙂
This week I offer up an older revelation that I’m starting to see the benefits of. In general, I’ve had a gift for seeing things from a different angle; realizing that life’s puzzle pieces will fit together in more ways than one. It’s benefited me more than anything but there comes a time when figuring it out looks more like madness than wisdom.
Some of the puzzle pieces don’t fit beautifully into the spaces we think they should. This for me can cause some pretty legit anxiety, cognitive dissonance and all that, therefore, let’s just call this recent stretch of life Mastering the Art of I Don’t Know. So much easier said than done, I know and I get it. There are no steps, tips, shortcuts, or cheat codes but it can be done and I’d like to nominate myself as a budding success story.
I love to-do lists, planning, structure and stability, but I think I can get an ‘amen’ when I say stability ain’t stable. If you want the dirty details of my story, you don’t have to look far. They’re littered all over my blog, but today I’d like to talk about how “I don’t know” has become a really close friend of mine. It’s given me certainty about the things I’m uncertain of. In a world full of people who know a lot about things they know nothing about, “I don’t know” screams confidence louder than any fact giver. It takes intelligence to grasp that you don’t have the answers and courage to admit to it.
In the past, when asked about my plans and goals in life, I used to have a pretty good answer, and then I didn’t. Then I’d give the panic-laced “I don’t know”. That wasn’t getting me anywhere, so I made a commitment to change how I look at life’s ambiguity and though my answer hasn’t changed much (still no clue what’s going on), my mindset when explaining such is doused in excitement and hope. Now, this short and sweet response typically leads to a silence that I’m expected to fill with some half-committed backup plans, but I’m learning that those filler strategies take away from my story rather than add to it. It’s much more appealing to be left with a cliffhanger than several incompatible scenarios under the illusion of fake it ’til you make it.
I need to add the disclaimer that this isn’t the encouragement of ignorance, but rather encouragement of curiosity and honesty. Some things in life require our input to get the ball rolling, but some things require us to get out of the way. Everyday we’re pressured to answer the questions we were never taught to ask and to profess conclusions, but never told to test them. “I don’t know” provides a fearless sense of transparency and the time and space to learn for the sake of gaining, not explaining.