Uncertainty

My dad used to say, "It'd be nice if you had a crystal ball so you could know where you'd be in 5, 10 years, huh?" This was in the beginning of my career, when it was still charming that I was moving back and forth across the country. First to Orlando, then back to Reno, then down to Phoenix, then back up to the Bay Area. By the third move, he stopped talking about the crystal ball and started talking about back pain.

But I've often thought about that, working in a business that is predictably unpredictable. Having watched dear friends get laid off, transferred, shift into one man banding, leave the business altogether, start their own endeavors...and that's all within the past year or two. I'm used to dealing with the unknown everyday at work; it's the nature of news. But these are seismic shifts in lifestyles and careers. Would we want to see them coming?

And then I think, at the end of it all, what will really matter? Really really matter in the big big picture. This weekend we went to the memorial service for my landlord's wife. A vibrant, healthy woman in her mid-50's who died suddenly in an accident. Most of the service was conducted in Mandarin, and truthfully, we'd only met her a handful of times. But it was overwhelming to think about how this beloved wife and mother of two college-aged girls was here one instant, and gone the next.

We both talked about it afterward. How neither of us is even close to prepared for the death of our parents or what we could possibly say in a eulogy without breaking down after every single word or how life could even dare to move forward when something like this happens.

It was so terribly sad and I couldn't even speak when I hugged my landlord as he stood next to his daughters to thank everyone for their condolences.

I just have to take a deep breath and shake off the paranoid fear that something horrible could happen at any second. I have to remember not to sweat the small stuff and to be so grateful for the enormous love and luck I have had in my life. And many, many things have not gone even close to my way, but in the big picture, in the forest, not the trees, I'm thankful.

But a crystal ball. No. I don't think I'd want one. Uncertainty allows me to live in the moment, and I need to do that so very much more than I do.