The Certain Reality of Uncertainty

I’m not talking math. No, I’m talking about when plans go askew, and you’re left bobbing in a time-stream of uncertainty. The resolution could come in an hour, a day, or… well, I think never is unnecessarily pessimistic. If Uncertainty lingers long enough, it becomes the new certainty. It’s stressful, no matter how long it lasts, or how big a matter it is. If, say, you’re waiting at a restaurant for friends to join you, there’s a moment of uncertainty where you are sitting there feeling very self-conscious, but after they are late enough, you either get up and walk out, or you order food and try to enjoy it alone. The uncertainty came to a point in the stream where you had to make a choice.

There are certainly (heh!) times where you can’t do anything at all about the uncertainty. You’ve filled out all the forms, all the ducks are in a row, but the final decision is in someone else’s hands and all you can do is wait. Personally, I try to keep busy at those times. If it’s waiting in a doctor’s office, I have a book, maybe my scrabble game on the phone (went back to playing that, after a long break). If it’s going to be days or weeks, I do my best to compartmentalize and focus on the tasks I am certain need to be done now. Even some that may not, if uncertainty shivers into the worst scenario of reality, need to have been done.

I can look back and see that when I was under the greatest stress, the transition moments in life, I did best if I kept working. Even if I had to go out and find someone I could volunteer to help. I’ve done that more than once, and it was in the long run both good for me, and hopefully (I’m never quite certain of my own utility) to the people I volunteered to. Busy kept my mind away from chewing over the ‘what could happen…?’ of the uncertain future.

Busy only lasts so long. If you can fall in bed exhausted, your brain is still like a ferret trapped in trousers. It keeps nipping and moving and there’s no resting. Even when your body can’t maintain consciousness any longer, when your REM sleep is over, it’s back up and at it again and you wind up with a tossing, turning, dream-filled night that makes your morning a painful nightmare. Which is why you can only stay uncertain for so long, because it’s exhausting and eventually you have to do something that you know is certain. Finding peace can be a choice that is the only choice possible at times.

Maybe it’s my current sleep-deprived, headache-in-spite-of-meds, cranky state of mind that is making me bleak right now. Maybe it’s just that I hate waiting. I’m not a patient person. I want to know, one way or the other. Even if it’s not the best solution, I can still make lemonade out of lemons. Or lemon curd. Or lemon meringue pie, or… Oh. Cheesecake. Drat, I forgot I meant to do that…

And there’s the other thing uncertainty does to me, at least. It makes me scattered and forgetful, because part of my brain is camping out, waiting for some resolution, and no matter how much I try to focus, it’s always wandering away until I realize it’s gone and drag it back to the path. Like walking a dog in the woods. There’s always another bunny trail. Work helps, because I can stick to the jobs at hand, and have a list. It’s home and night time that are difficult.

Even those, if I can find a book to read that captures me well enough, can be attenuated by escaping into the literary realm a while. And if I can stay on task well enough to get housework done. Which isn’t helped if I’m exhausted from lack of sleep. It all build on itself. Fortunately, this transition period is rarely long. I’ve done this before, I can do it again, and again, and every time I develop better coping skills. Like everything else in life, practice makes… well, not perfect. I’m never perfect. But better. Easier, and less painful, anyway.


8 responses to “The Certain Reality of Uncertainty”

  1. Hope your resolution comes soon.

    1. The current thing for me will be resolved by the end of the week one way or another. But it’s made me think about other times in my past when it dragged on with no end in sight.

  2. Sadly, I believe ‘this’ is a product of the current world of instant gratification. I’m an old fart, and I tend to look at it a bit differently, having grown up in a world where cell phones and computers didn’t exist. You mailed off whatever it was, and forgot about it, moving on with your life until you got an answer. If you were lucky that was ‘only’ a couple of weeks later. If not, it was a month or months later. Even today, I push it to the back of the cue in my mind, concentrating on what I ‘need’ to do each day. And yes, I hope you get the answer you need, sooner rather than later!

    1. Oh, I know part of this is my own impatience and that in this era you can get fast answers. Actually, part of my problem is that something is caught up in a non-computerized process! I’ll be fine, I have plans in place no matter what branch of the stream solidifies as the certain from the probable outcomes.

  3. Adding an update comment: I have resolution! It’s not ideal, but it’s so nice to know what’s coming next. Maybe tonight I’ll sleep soundly.

    1. That’s good to hear. And smart to have various ‘plans’… 😀

  4. Kathleen Sanderson Avatar
    Kathleen Sanderson

    I totally get this, having been through it many times, most recently after making the decision to move east again and then having things up in the air while deciding where to look, and looking, and then waiting to make sure it was going to go through. Now we are on to packing and getting ready to actually move, and I’m still second-guessing myself because the ‘new’ old house really does need a lot of work still (even though it’s better than a lot of the places we looked at), but then I consider the location and the piece of land and I know I did choose the best option out of all of the places we looked at. Just have to buckle down and deal with it.

    1. And there’s an element of excitement, too, I hope! Once you’re here, I’ll try to be able to get down there and help on weekends at the very least.