Confronting My Constant Craving for Certainty in the Aftermath of COVID-19

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When I was young(er), I was certain about many things. I had really definitive goals for the future that when I look back now, mostly depended on a matter of chance. It makes me laugh when I think about the way that I treated my vibrant fantasies about the future as thoughtful and sound decisions.

Almost all those “goals” were supposed to be accomplished by the time I turned thirty.

Well, I am thirty now, and writing this while the world is engulfed in a deadly pandemic, with no end in sight still. I didn’t take that into consideration when I planned to travel to at least 30 countries with my husband before I settled down to have a kid by the time I’m 30, now did I?

“A free soul moving strategically, the beauty of a paradox”

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For someone who likes to call herself a free spirit, I have been awfully dependant on structure my entire life. 

“I like things a certain way”—this is a phrase I have told many people numerous times in my life, pretty obnoxiously so. When I think back now, I can see how naive and irrational my innate need for structure and certainty was. I took pride in it. I thought I was somehow superior for having a perfectly structured life and having every second of my next 10 years planned out so strategically. 

READ MORE: LITTLE THOUGHTS THAT WILL GIVE YOU A NEW PERSPECTIVE IN LIFE

When the collapse came in the form of a pandemic that brought the entire world to its knees, every single plan I meticulously made over many years crumbled apart so easily it felt almost comical. The universe certainly has a way of keeping us humble. I lost comprehension of who I was for a while, which I believe was a shared feeling among many of us since the beginning of this pandemic. When the structure is lost, we all feel lost in a way. When we do not have a clearly planned out path for us, it can be extremely challenging to find meaning in our existence. We simply cannot make sense of it.

Order in Chaos

Since we were children, we have been conditioned to categorize and label to make sense of things. We needed structure. We always needed to know what comes next. Whenever we felt like just letting things go, our conditioning compelled us to abide by a clearly delineated set of tasks that we were supposed to accomplish in order to be successful. Somewhere along the way, we started losing touch with the beautiful mystery that is life. The palpable reality of our mere existence, which is as devoid of structure as it can be.

My life has always been an intricate dance between what I felt I should really do, and what I felt was the “right” thing for me. Somewhere at the top of a volcano in Bali where I flew off to escape, I found how those two things can be aligned. I was privileged to have lavish wings that allowed me to fly wherever, and yet for some reason I was never able to break free of my constant craving for certainty and structure. 

Finding Comfort in Uncertainity

Almost two years after the first COVID lockdown, however, I feel something within me has fundamentally changed. When I look back now, every single time the universe ripped something out from underneath me, it handed me something far better. I should have known then. So, now, perhaps it is time to give spontaneity a chance. For once in my life, I do not have some grandiose plan about how my life is going to be. And yet, sitting here, typing this while the sun goes down against a sky so beautiful that it almost looks unreal, I feel at peace. Happy, even. 

The need for certainty can destroy perhaps the most beautiful thing about life—the mystery. My need for certainty took from me many possibilities that would have perhaps taken me to happier, warmer, and more peaceful places. Living a life of certainty and structure requires strict adherence to logic, which for a long time I believed what I was made of. The kind of logic that is needed to live a rigidly certain life does not come from love, hope, and miracles that now I know are fundamentally within me. 

Nothing truly beautiful, delightful, and incredible is ever planned. Logic, reason, spontaneity, and wonder are all different kinds of beasts that need to be tamed on their own terms in order to live a life that is truly fulfilling and worth living. When our desperate certainties are collapsed and crumbled apart over and over by the universe, it carves out a depth in our soul.

It is then we find the only certainty that we can rely on—that our life and the universe around us are wholly uncertain and unknown to its very end. It is horrifying, but also beautiful at the same time. 

xo, Vindy💋

A relentless optimist with an affinity for red wine and red lipstick.

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