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Leaning into Uncertainty and Living in the Moment

leaning into uncertainty
3 min read

Comparison is the thief of joy I repeat to myself as I deep-throat the “chai-tea latte” that I’ve added three healthy additional shots of espresso to. As usual, the taste misses the mark altogether but I forgo the flavor in favor of efficiency.

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I settle into my seat and open my work laptop. When I’m selecting a place to work, I usually opt for aesthetics, maybe something off the beaten path. Somehow I’ve found myself in a corporate park surrounded by raging children and egregious signs that read things like “But first…coffee” and “Don’t talk to me unless I’ve had my coffee.” I can’t help but show my disgust and wonder if my consistent eye-rolling is damaging in the long-term.

It’s alright I remind myself. I’m here because I’m just saving for the summer. I moved out of my cute, sun-drenched apartment in Southwest D.C. and back to the good ole suburbs with my parents in Northern Virginia because I wanted to travel internationally for the summer. I could no longer defend spending $2k on rent a month just to have a decent place to house my little army of plants, and there was nothing tying me to a physical place.

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I’ve intentionally set myself up for this by not having a lease to pay, joined the bargaining committee in my organization’s union to fight for permanent remote work, and I’m beautiful yet emotionally broken enough to not have any tangible romantic prospects that demand my presence. Check, check, and yikes…check.

I feel myself growing anxious. Maybe it’s the caffeine abuse or maybe it’s the growing uncertainty of it all. What’s my game plan? I think to myself as I open Instagram and start doom scrolling. I quickly pass the now-three mandated ads to see someone who purchased a home and is sharing their tile samples and hit them with a like. I then see a family member welcoming yet another adorable child into their family and I am already loving the little bugger.

These feelings are genuinely earnest, however, I see these people all around me checking these boxes of certainty and responsibility. They are further entrenching their roots as self-actualized adults; which in turn gives me the sinister feeling that I may not be progressing in the way that I should be. Yes, everyone has their own unique timeline, and yes I’m happy with my progress, but what if I’m lagging behind?

These thoughts don’t always occur but as my life is increasingly free and unchained, I wonder if I want something else. These thoughts remained with me as I began my international travel at the beginning of June this year with hopes that it would offer perspective and new experiences. The first half of my travel has been eye-opening and I absolutely feel privileged that I am able to experience this journey to its fullest extent.

While these thoughts do arise, it’s almost ironic to me when I have people messaging me about how they wish they were able to travel, how some confide in me that they think they got married too young, and how some feel shackled by their homes or leases and are yearning for more.

This has really reminded me that life can be uncertain, and the age-old saying “the grass is greener on the other side” is prevalent in so many different people and ways of life. The feelings of uncertainty will ebb and flow for all of us, so I am going to lean into the uncertainty.

I’ve been allowed to do this digital nomad thing where I can hop around and do this “Eat, Pray, Love” kind of thing, and be comfortable at where I’m at in life; and for that I’m content. Allow me to flag that “Eat” will exclusively consist of looks that ATE on the gram, “Pray” will likely be accompanied by existential experiences brought on by psychedelics, and “Love” will be me loving every new French phrase, new Italian dish, and new Spanish experience that I’ve had.

Life is uncertain and beautiful in that uncertainty. Just because we’re not checking particular boxes doesn’t mean we aren’t learning, growing, and living to our heart’s content. And if you aren’t, then it’s time to start. I’ve instead framed this “uncertainty” into “flexibility” which I have been heavily leaning into, especially these past few months.

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I think there’s importance in how I define self-actualization: I’m overcoming my fears by addressing them head-on whether that be in my personal relationships, in existential situations, or overcoming physical challenges. I love the flexibility that life has to offer me and I’m ready to accept that there are an infinite amount of uncertainties and I am going to leverage those opportunities to get what I want out of life. I hope for a mindset where we’re comfortable, content, and inspired.