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.
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?