“I don’t know what I’m doing with my life.”
Not needing to know where our life is headed is a sign of mastering the human experience. When we admit we don’t know what is going to happen in the future, we are finally standing in some sort of truth.
Just look at your life right now. Ten years ago, could you have predicted all the twists and turns that have happened for yourself and your loved ones? Probably not.
Maybe, when you reflect on how your life path has unwound, you find yourself blaming other people, criticizing yourself, or even being mad at God or the universe for how things have turned out.
Maybe you have physical or emotional pain that you think could have been prevented with different choices, and maybe this thought has you scared, uncertain, or tentative about how the future will go.
If this is you, then what I want to say to you is that your pain is not your fault. We will never fully understand why we all experience pain on this human journey, but we all definitely do.
In the last year, I have gone through a separation with my partner of over two decades, left the country life I thought I had created for myself, and now find myself living in the cutest little downtown house.
I find the situation unexpected and full of challenge, but somehow I only feel gratitude for this opportunity to not know why events have unfolded the way they have and to not know how my life is going to continue from here.
Each day, I find this truth a little more exhilarating.
Letting go of my need to control the way my life is headed is not easy or comfortable, but it is truth, and within that acknowledgement of what is real, there is a visceral sense of relief.
Any idea that you “know” what you are doing with your life is an illusion.
You can have ideas, dreams, inspirations, and visions. These are all good. These are more than good if they are imbued with creativity, beauty, and the energy of service. Then these are wonderful. And of course, we want to fan these inspirations with encouragement, planning, and action.
But just because we have an idea doesn’t mean it’s going to happen the way we imagine it or in the timing we desire—because the future is unknown and will always be unknown.
When we begin to appreciate and view the mystery of timing and the openness of possibility as a challenge, we can feel relaxed.
We don’t know what we are doing. This is not a statement to be scared of. It is not something to criticize ourselves about. It is a truth to be celebrated. We don’t know what we are doing and we never will. This awareness leads to freedom. It can even lead to a liberation from needing to be in control of anything.
My life was so busy in the past. Small children, a partner, many projects, and family commitments. I was scared and worried much of the time.
Now, when people ask me what my plans are, I don’t know how to answer. My agenda book is fairly empty, and I have no plane tickets booked to go anywhere. I have projects that speak to my heart but no deadlines attached to them.
Each day, there is plenty of unplanned time, and somehow it gets filled. A friend comes by for tea, someone wants a healing session, I brush my hair, or just sit on the couch cuddling the puppy.
I have so much compassion for those of us feeling anxiety over how we will fill our time, what will happen in our lives. Often the way we try to calm that anxiety is to plan more, to create more goals. But trying to have control over what happens in our life may actually be the source of the anxiety and not the solution.
So, if you are looking for some relief from the tension and anxiety you are feeling over what will happen, try a new approach:
Every time you feel anxious about the future, say to yourself, “I don’t know what I am doing with my life, and I never will, and that is just perfect.” After a few weeks of using these words, you might just start to feel a little better, a little lighter, and a little more in truth.