The past few days I have been thinking a lot about guarantees. Every day a plethora of guarantees are at our fingertips. With so many choices, I am continually satisfying my appetite for merchandise guarantees, but what about guarantees in life?
Think about it for a minute. Wouldn’t it be great to know you could have a guaranteed perfect friend or ideal partner? Then, heaven forbid, if something in that relationship broke, that friend or partner would be replaced with an even better model for no emotional cost. To my chagrin, guarantees in life don’t exist. I willingly admit this lack of guarantees has always scared the crap out of me. When there are no guarantees, how do you make those difficult decisions like when to change jobs or when to cut ties with a friend? Every decision is based on a guess. You can only guess which school’s degree will bring you the best job or which friend will be the most trustworthy to guard your secrets. Even when you make the most educated guesses, there is always the chance that it will blow up in your face despite how sure you felt when you originally made your decision.
So if there are no guarantees and all you have are educated guesses, how do you know you are following a path that will lead you to the most happiness? You don’t. This is something I hate to admit because I am the type of person who likes to know (or more accurately, needs to know) what’s coming down the road. In all my pondering around this subject, I realize that I am going to have to learn to accept the fact that life offers no guarantees. Though I would love to know whether taking a left at the fork in the road will ultimately be better than taking a right, it’s impossible to know how things will turn out with complete certainty.
All my worries about what decision is the right one and how to ensure I am as happy as I can be stem from one place, fear. We are all afraid of the possibility of getting hurt, not achieving our goals, or losing something/someone we can never get back. I will admit fear can be useful since it generally stops us from doing something that would end our lives like jumping off a cliff without a parachute or swimming in a pool of hungry sharks with an open wound. Yet fear also takes another more irrational form in all of us. It makes us restrain ourselves from pursuing our dreams or stop ourselves from telling someone how we really feel. Fear pulls us away from taking a risk and blindly stepping forward into the unknown. We have all heard the emotional war stories from the people around us and we can’t help but be terrified by the possibility of the same thing happening to us. Therefore, without any guarantee, we avoid making those difficult decisions and try to make our lives as safe as possible. This leads to never taking risks and possibly losing out on something greater than we could ever imagine.
Enough is enough. I am not going to let myself be too scared to take a risk. I am going to step onto that battlefield every chance I get and make those difficult decisions as they come. No more running, no more hiding.
Now I have established my first challenge. Just let go. It’s time to let go of the restrictions and stop refusing to do things because I am afraid of how everything will turn out in the end. I can’t continue to focus on how things begin and end. If I keep doing this, I am going to miss the middle and that’s the good stuff (just like an Oreo cookie, everyone knows the icing is the best part). Damnit, to quote the lovely Lorelei, I want my middle (bonus points if you know what I’m talking about here!).
Since I am not the most eloquent individual in the world, I am going to leave you with the following words from Nikki Giovanni which sum this up quite wonderfully – “A lot of people refuse to do things because they don’t want to go naked, don’t want to go without guarantee. But that’s what’s got to happen. You go naked until you die.”
So go naked my friends…
~Non Avere Paura~