Facing the Unknown

We all face unknowns. We just don’t stop and think about it all that often, which is honestly probably a good thing. It’s no better to live in the future than it is to dwell in the past. We can make plans, with the understanding that no plan survives contact with the enemy. If you don’t know who the enemy is, I commend you to the inimitable Pogo. “We have met the enemy, and he is us…” Decisions we made in the past impact our future, for good or ill, and there’s little we can do in the present. 

What we can do, and should do, is square our shoulders and look into the foggy probabilities once in a while. Some outcomes are so unlikely they should not be considered, like mass media doing a volte-face and suddenly supporting truth, justice, and the American Way. They were never about that in the past, why should they be now? Media exists, has always existed, as a business model. You should not expect truth from them, truth doesn’t sell. You can trust them, though. Trust that they will spin ‘news’ in a way that will get more eyeballs on their stories, which are crafted cunningly to appeal to what you want to believe, and then you will want to buy what they are selling through ads. That’s a rock-solid motivation, and from that foundation, you can work. Just don’t expect that what they report actually happened, or happened that way, or… it’s a narrative. Not the facts. 

Ignoring the ‘news’ then and the talking heads who peddle fear to the masses because that’s the fastest way to control, what can we know? We can trust human nature. People are petty, they are noble, they are kind, they are breathtakingly cruel. Most people just want to take care of themselves, their family, and sometimes when the call comes, they step up in a big way. It’s unpredictable who will step up, and how. I can tell you from experience that being mentally prepared to step up and out of your comfort zone is the best way to be in a position to do so, in the moment of crisis. 

What is more difficult, really, is the moments that drag on and on. The critical instance that requires great courage comes rarely, and into some lives, not at all. The willingness to keep on going when the uncertainty dogs every move you make? That’s hard. Don’t diminish that. Change is never easy, even good changes. We all need to change, though. The question becomes, then, will we change for the better? No matter the outcome, making the effort to grow is always positive. Even failures can, in accumulation, lift you up by sheer gained experience. It’s ignoble. I know that. I can look back at my history and see that incremental upward path, littered with near-disasters. 

If it sounds like I’m talking to myself, I am. I’m thinking out loud, as I’m trying to navigate the next thing, which I can’t see clearly. I can see promise of something, but the reality? I don’t know what that looks like until it’s in the present, and then it’s too late to return to the past and make different decisions. 

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