Susan talked about how disappointing spoilers can be in Embracing Uncertainty. Knowing the end of a movie or TV show is disappointing because we would prefer to have the experience of the story ourselves.
“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could think of the story of our lives in just this way?” Susan wrote. “We could allow ourselves to be the observer of the greatest story ever told…at least to our own lives. I WONDER what’s going to happen.”
Right? Who would really want to know how life is going to unfold? It would be boring to know what each step of your life will bring. Yet, how many of us try to control each aspect of our lives so that there are no surprises? We try to control every little thing so we don’t have to face any uncertainties.
But we all know that’s not how life works.
It’s exciting to get a wonderful surprise for your birthday, or to run into an old friend while doing your shopping, or to win a prize in a raffle. These are surprises that bring joy to our lives. Yet there are other surprises that can diminish our happiness—cancelled dinner plans, a surprise medical bill, a family member in a car accident.
Both joy and sadness bring balance to our lives.
“Strangely, as much as we worry about the uncertainty of the future,” said Susan, “I believe that if someone could tell us in advance how things were going to turn out, we wouldn’t want to hear it. Oh, yes, we love fortune-tellers to tell us that we will be rich, healthy, and find true love. It’s always great to hear the good stuff, but I don’t think we’d like to hear the ‘bad’ stuff, and, of course, some ‘bad’ stuff is likely to occur in all our lives.”
In an effort to smooth out any disappointing surprises, many of us create quiet lives with boundaries, snug in our comfort zones, so that we don’t have to face any surprise, any change. We are trying to make sure that our lives are full of spoilers so that there are no surprises. How boring!
When we circumscribe our lives, we are shutting out the wonders of each day—the unexpected bad and the unexpected good. Susan wrote, “Isn’t it better that we take things as they come…the good and the bad…and learn and grow as events happen? I believe that each moment, each day, each age, each experience brings with it its own challenge. And the trick is to learn to love the uncertainty of it all.”
This can be very challenging for a lot of us. Uncertainty often causes feelings of stress and fear. Not being able to control the outcome is scary. Letting go is hard, but it is absolutely worth it. The payoff of embracing life’s uncertainties is that we experience life with open eyes and open hearts knowing that there are blessings aplenty to marvel at each day.
“Do we really want to ruin the challenge of it all…the surprise around the corner…the true adventure of not-knowing? If we can shift our uncertainty, our not-knowing, into an adventure, how wonderful that would be!”
By cultivating our sense of wonder, we begin to understand that uncertainty can be gratifying. When we allow ourselves to wonder, we are neutralizing pessimism while relieving anxiety, allowing us to welcome what life brings. When we wonder, Susan wrote, “Fear of the uncertain is replaced by curiosity. Wonder can also open our eyes to valuable opportunities for growth. You can see why, when we live a Wondering Life, we have taken one important step toward embracing uncertainty.” When we can look forward to uncertainty, we can cultivate a sense of wonder for whatever life brings us. Spoilers about our future can become as unwelcome as any spoiler for a movie. Start today by finding and celebrating the wonder in your life.