On Accepting The Unknown

I’m a creature of habit.

I wake up at 9:00 every morning and I jump on the bus to campus a half-hour later. I order a soy chai latte from the cafe downstairs in the building where all my classes are held—$4.06 every day, from the same long-haired barista. Depending on the day, I either work on the course I’m helping my professor build, claim a spot close to an outlet on the third floor or go to my office at the publication where I work part-time until my evening classes. My “weekends” are Thursdays and Fridays, generally spent working anyway. I work at a local TV station on Saturdays and Sundays, after which I watch college football and Breaking Bad. Such is my life. Sweetly routine.

I’m a planner. I’m your by-the-book, type-A, list-making, scheduling-down-to-the minute perfectionist. I like knowing what’s going to happen tomorrow, and the next day, and next week, and six months from now.

But I haven’t slept well recently, and I just realized the reason why.

Last week, my application for college graduation got approved. That means that just over two months from now, I’ll be leaving the campus I’ve called home for the past three and a half years.

I don’t have a job. I have opportunities, but nothing set in stone. I don’t know if I’ll be staying in Austin. Even if I do stay in Austin, I have no idea what my life will look like.

By mid-December, I may be living in Austin, dating the same guy I’ve been dating for nearly two years, hanging out with my same Austin friends, going to my same favorite restaurants and finding a new place to get a decent soy chai since I won’t be going to campus anymore.

But I might not be. Not knowing made me sick with worry.

Until today, the prospect of the unknown approaching so quickly would have sent me running for the hills. But not anymore. I’ve accepted that there are only so many aspects of my life I have power over.

Relinquishing control over your life is a really scary, hard thing to do—especially if you’re as Type A as I am. However, it’s necessary, and it’s healthy.

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I’ve realized that I’m barreling into a time in my life when nothing is “for sure.” I’ve realized that at the end of this semester, I won’t be registering for another one. I’ve realized that after Christmas break, I won’t join my friends back on campus. And I’ve made my peace with it.

All things end. School ends, relationships end, life ends. I can’t plan for everything. I can’t have control over my life anymore. Relinquishing control isn’t giving up, though—it’s accepting that you’re doing absolutely everything you can and should be doing, and leaving the rest up to God, or fate, or karma, or whatever it is you believe in that controls your destiny.

My boyfriend knows I’m a planner and a worrier. The words he’s said more to me than any others are, “Everything is going to work out.” He’s right. It will.

I slept easy last night.

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View Comments (3)
  • I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and I also have a hard time accepting the unknown. The “what if’s” drive me quite literally insane, and even the most mundane of things will spark my worry. Being a senior in college, (still sounds weird to say) is starting to make me face the unknown. I know what I want, and where I want to be, but the fact of the matter is, how I get there is completely up in the air at this stage in my life. I’m constantly battling inside my head about the what if’s. I need to become more like you, and just step back, take a deep breath, and let the unknown be accepted. Lovely post!

    • It takes a while to get there, Rosemary, and despite everything I’ve said here it’s still hard for me. I always tell myself to just stop thinking about it so much and let things work themselves out the way they’re going to. Because, whether you believe in fate or God or whatever, there’s something bigger than you controlling the things that happen. Once you accept that, the rest comes a little easier.

  • I’m 1.5 years out of school and I had the same exact feelings my last year. It gets easier to say “I can’t control it, so why worry about it?”

    I was in one city 3 months before I realized it wasn’t for me and headed home to mom and dad. But I knew that wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be either. So I stayed with a friend in another city for 2 weeks applying and interviewing for jobs there. I accepted one and it was ok but exactly a year after that, I switched to a new job that I LOVE.
    I have a friend who was supposed to be in South Africa for a year but she came home 6 months into it and now works as a flight attendant out of NYC. Someone else I know moved to Cali and couch surfed for a few weeks before finding the exact job he wanted.

    Moral of the story: it’s scary not knowing how it will end, but you have time to feel things out, use trial and error, and eventually find what makes you happy. Good luck!

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