Getting Lost in the Unknowns

For the past 39 days, we have been waiting for our house to sell. It feels like we are literally waiting for the future to unfold before us. For a sign from The Universe or God or St. Joseph or something to let us know that things are going to happen. This whole time, my mind has been racing between calculating potential profits from nonexistent offers to coming to grips with the fact that it may never sell and we might live in this big house forever. What I’ve learned over this short period of time is that patience does not come easily to me. Waiting for the unknown to become known is really hard.

39 days ago, I was so positive and happy about the prospective of no longer owning a home. I was so convinced that it would happen in a matter of days that I didn’t even consider that it might take weeks or months. And as time goes on without an offer or sale, my positivity wanes. My happiness fades a little. I start to feel a little hopeless, fearful, doubtful. I find myself  questioning everything.

What if we don’t get an offer soon? What if we don’t sell our house at all? What if our plan isn’t meant to be? What if this minimalism stuff isn’t all it’s cracked up to be? Is this lifestyle of minimalism and frugality right for us or are we really crazy? Are we ever going to pay off our debt? Are we doing the right thing? How will I know if this was really a good idea?

These questions come up because I like to be in control. I’m an ultra-planner by nature. I want to know what is going to happen in my life. I also want know when it will happen and how it will happen and where it will happen and who will make it happen. And if I can’t know for sure, I want to have a contingency plan for every possible outcome–like a map of all the threads of every possible parallel universe. I have a hard time shutting down my brain from wondering about all the “what ifs” which makes it hard for me to focus on the right now.

The stress and anxiety of not knowing has slowly evolved from a tiny, ignorable thing to a big, all-consuming problem. Finally the other night after dinner, I erupted with a volcano of questions and poured them out on Zach.

Me: “What are we going to do if this doesn’t happen?”

Zach: “We’ll figure it out.”

Me: “No…really, what’s the plan?”

His answer was “There isn’t a plan. We’ll figure it out when the time comes.”

As I thought about his answer more and more, I realized that as hard as it is for me to admit it, he’s right. Whether we focus on it or not, life is going to happen. There is no way to know how or when or why. Sure, up until this point we have had a plan, and it’d be great if everything worked out the way we want it to. But there are only so many choices you can make to shape the big unknowns in life.  And if things don’t go according to plan, is that such a bad thing?

The best things that have happened in my life were the result of situations where I had no control and didn’t know what was going to happen. Like landing my first job in the field of writing or moving to Little Rock three years ago or starting a blog about happiness. Even something as simple as going on an impromptu walk and witnessing a picturesque sunset over the river. These experiences are what has made my life exciting and fulfilling in a way that I never thought they would. They have shaped me into a new person–someone that I probably wouldn’t have become if everything in life went according to my plan.

I also didn’t think selling our house (or rather waiting for our house to sell) would be a character-building experience. But I think this is something that I need to learn and work on, even if it is tough. Some people are relatively easy-going and able to be relaxed and composed while life happens. I am not one of those people. I guess this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just means that I have to work on letting go of the things I can’t control.  I have to let go of my millions of plans and stop asking “what if?”. I have to trust that The Universe will do what it is meant to do and everything will work out alright in the end. I have to stop getting lost in the unknowns and worrying and stressing about things that haven’t even happened. I have to just be happy and enjoy the ride…and the sunsets.

picturesque sunset over the Arkansas River

Have you been pondering the great unknowns in your life? Are you naturally laid-back about life or a super planner (like me)? How do you shake off the stress and worries?

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8 thoughts on “Getting Lost in the Unknowns

  1. nothing much I can offer. I think we think the same way though. :) Its like im reading my thoughts. Sometimes I wish I had a crystal ball that would show me the future. That way id know if I was making the right choices.

    • Always good to know that you’re not the only one who thinks a certain way. :) And yeah, a crystal ball to see the future would be so awesome. Why haven’t we invented those yet?!

  2. Is the housing market particularly difficult in your area?

    Anyway, this can be though. My mantra was “All it needs, is ONE buyer, no more…” Let’s hope you’ll have a buyer soon.

    • Things do seem to be a bit slow around here, but I think the market is better than it has been in previous years. We are hoping that maybe once school gets out for the summer and the weather gets less rainy, more people will be out home shopping. You’re right, it only takes one buyer! Hopefully they’ll find our house soon. :)

      It wasn’t that long ago we were looking to buy this house. We’ve never been on the selling end of the deal, so the whole process is very new. So far, it is way more stressful to sell a house than to shop for one!

  3. Hi Abby – what a beautiful piece of writing. You captured the essence of my own personality to a T. I also get caught in the “monkey mind” of planning for every possible outcome and becoming anxious about the myriad ways that reality can unfold. I don’t have any answers for you but I can truly relate to what you’re going through. Your perspective is very wise even though you’re caught in the mire. Have faith that you will create a reality that always works out in the end.

    • Lee,
      It is nice to know that I’m not the only person who gets trapped in their head from time to time. Being aware of my tendency to get carried away with thinking has already helped me to slow down and focus on the present. If we are happy in the present, then we are bound to make the future happy, too. :)

      I’m glad you could relate to my writing, and thank you for your thoughtful comment!

  4. This is so true for me. I also get excited about awesome things I know are coming (like going back to school in July) and as a result frustrated that I can’t make time go faster. It’s something I’m working on :)

    • That is a good point too! It’s hard to live in the present moment when you are looking so forward to the future. At least we know these things about ourselves and can work on them though.

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