These extremely relatable lyrics from a song by the band U2 made me feel like I wasn’t the only one who didn’t have it all figured out when I was in college. All around me, people were confidently making 5-year plans or even writing up essays as part of their applications to overseas universities, while I simply gathered notes to prepare for the next semester examination.
I’ve never been one to have it all figured out and I’m often left amazed at the ones who do have their plan in place and the way they go about it with such determined precision. But, let me just tell you that it’s not such a bad thing if you find yourself where I did. And honestly, this certainty of knowing how you want to go about the next stage of your life doesn’t end at choosing the right field or making the right career choice after college. There are times when I still find myself humming the words of this song and I feel relieved at the comfort it brings.
You must think I’m crazy to say that there’s comfort in uncertainty. Well, uncertainty can be as chaotic as you make it out to be. Isn’t it great to have a plan in place? Of course it is! But, what if you don’t? What if you haven’t managed to single out a subject you’re really interested in and would like to devote the new few years of your life to pursuing? What if your passion lies in one too many things and you haven’t found a way to string them all together? What if you simply want to take some time to think about it and not pile on with the herd that’s swiftly pushing forward?
Well, that’s alright. It’s alright to not know where you’re headed or have a clear goal in mind. What’s important is that you acknowledge it and give yourself some breathing space once in a while. It’s easy to get caught up with the quick pace that we’ve all set out on. But, if your vehicle isn’t set on the same gear as the rest, it’s all the more easier to lag behind and start to feel like a failure.
So, let me suggest something. If you ever find yourself in this uncertain situation, why not park your vehicle aside and step out for a bit? Let the race go on as you pause to consider what’s best for you. Racing ahead without a goal in mind simply because everyone else is doing it isn’t going to benefit you much in the long run. So, while you’re in this stepping outside phase, use this time to focus on things you really like to do, whatever it may be.
Whether its arts, science, drama, music or astronomy, remember that there are countless possibilities that are in store. Explore various fields, try your hand out at several things that spark an interest in you, don’t shy away from experimenting or even getting in touch with people who are experts in these fields. What better way to learn and see what these fields really entail.
I consider it a gift, not having things figured out. It helps me push myself to look for new, innovative things to do and it also challenges me to take on things that I didn’t think I could do. It all depends on how you shape this season of uncertainty. Use it to your advantage — head out there and explore the different options for yourself and then challenge yourself to have a go at it. You’ll be surprised at how clear the path eventually becomes.
Pearl Mathias loves the little joys in life. Cups of warm tea, soulful conversations and flowers in all shapes, sizes and colours make her come alive. If her nose isn’t buried in a book, you’ll find her scribbling down the ramblings of her mind or writing notes to people she loves.