Sometimes, we do “just know.” And often, those are the best decisions — especially in work and love, if we’re lucky enough to land that sort of certainty. Because let’s be honest, you’ve gotta find the right combination of luck and readiness to get it, and not all of us do. We either never bump up into it or we weren’t aware when we did.
And it’s the rarity of “just knowing” that makes the other side so important — the part about doing when you don’t “just know;” what to do when you don’t have the locomotive engine of certainty at your back. Then what?
The answer isn’t in you
You have two options here…
1.) You could go your whole life waiting for “certainty” — and risk never finding it.
Many people go this route, and frankly there is no shame at all in choosing it — so long as you full-well understand the consequences, i.e., never finding it.
I used to work with a ton of individual women clients, and I don’t mean to scare you, but the “never-married, reluctantly single around 40 woman” is a very particular type of person. Maybe she truly never did find anyone (for many of these women, I doubt it — they were attractive enough and emotionally stable enough that, in my opinion, they could have — but they chased the wrong partners, or held out for something better, and then found themselves crushed up against a ceiling of fertility and freaking out. It’s terrible. Not the “single and without kids” part, because whatever, but the fact the fact that they didn’t get their head straight about their priorities. If finding “THE ONE” was truly that important, they wouldn’t be so messed up about being childless, and those that are lied to themselves about the necessity of “certainty” on the partner.
Happens for dudes too, of course. They just have a longer window.
Same goes for work. Some people go their whole lives waiting to “find their passion,” or even waiting to pursue it, and then wake up one morning to realize that they’ve just crossed some threshold, or had some transition, or experienced a life change, and time isn’t quite as “stand still” as they thought.
If “the one thing” is more important, being without it won’t be as bad as settling for second best. So if not having anything feels terrible, it means we lied to ourselves about the importance of certainty.
And, odds are, “nothing” is exactly what we’ll end up with, going this route.
2.) Experiment with imperfection
Because sometimes the one perfect answer isn’t coming.
Callie Byrnes said, “I’m starting to suspect this whole ‘finding yourself’ thing is bullshit,” writing,
“We love the idea that we have this specific purpose on Earth and we just have to find it. It makes feeling lost so much less scary because we know there’s a way to overcome it. We tell ourselves that at the end of our journey, everything will make sense, except in reality you get there and wonder where the hell you’re supposed to go next, because there’s not an instruction manual for what comes after ‘The End.’ Sometimes you just get lost all over again.”
And sometimes it’s just about moving in imperfection. Sometimes it’s just about making do. And sometimes “trying” is more important than waiting for perfection.