Dealing with the Uncertainties of Life


“Life is like sailing. You can use any wind to go in any direction.” ~ Robert Brault

When life does not go the way we had planned or hoped, we often think of this as an aberration. Whatever caused the change in course should not have happened. We may experience shock or grief, or question endlessly why this had to happen to me . We may even spend the rest of our life contemplating how different things would be if that thing had not happened.

Yet, it seems to me that life is as unpredictable as the ocean. You can have a destination in mind, but you have no idea how the winds will blow, how high the waves will be, what kind of storms may come, how seaworthy your vessel proves to be, or how you will cope with the uncertainties. What you absolutely accept is that there will be challenges, uncertainties and the unexpected.

Generally this is not the approach we take to life. We presume it will be smooth sailing and can be annoyed, angry, disappointed, shocked or devastated when it is not.

There is probably a good reason for this. If we constantly considered all that could go wrong we would be collective basket cases. We make many choices in life and we have to assume some positive predictability or we would remain immobilized. We have children because we assume we will be there to raise them. We plan vacations assuming we will return safely.

I think it is important to maintain positivity and hope, and to embrace life.

We can embark on the journey that begins anew each day with enthusiasm and appreciation.

However, when things do go sideways we need to have our time of dismay, disappointment, even grief, but then it is time to spring back into action. In this moment we remind ourselves that life, indeed, makes no promises, comes with no guarantees. We need to be able to regroup and adapt to the new circumstances.

Of course this is so much easier said than done. This is the time to draw upon all available resources: friends, family, support services, professional counseling or spiritual guidance.

The philosopher Neitzsche said, “What does not kill me makes me stronger.” So, whatever has happened in our lives, if we are still here, it is time to choose to be strong.

Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.

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