Thoughts on the joy of not knowing—A rewrite of an Atomic Betty classic.
Often, a post emerged from a quote sent to me by a friend that sent my overthinking into overdrive. That’s what happened here. One thing I learned over the years was to begin appreciating the messiness of life. Life rarely comes in a perfect package with a neat bow on top. Life looks a lot more like a gift wrapped up in a crumpled piece of old newspaper. I learned that not only is that perfectly fine, but it’s also pretty damn normal. – Donlyn
I don’t think I could love two words more than “delicious ambiguity.” Oh, sure, “free chocolate” may give it a run for its money. Or, “Daniel Craig called,” but that’s technically three words, so it doesn’t count. One of my friends that I adore entirely because he just gets it sent me this quote yesterday. Take a breath and savor it because the meaning is important.
“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment, and making the best of it without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.” — Gilda Radner
Gilda Radner was an actress, comedienne, and one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live. Unfortunately, she lost a battle with Ovarian Cancer at the very young age of 42. Which, yes, is depressing as hell. But I believe it brings even more weight and power to her words.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I think I can hold up the entire universe by nothing short of sheer will. That’s typically the time when my whole life goes into the toilet. When I let go and stop trying to control every little moment and every single tomorrow and every single outcome is when I begin to have all that joy and magic in my life. My life works best when I stop trying to make everything happen.
The truth is, we don’t know. We don’t know how long we have. We don’t have perfect little lives that fit neatly in a box with a big shiny bow. So the only constant in our lives is changing. And oh, how I hate change. But mostly because I hate letting go.
That’s where we take Gilda’s lesson. The joy is in not knowing. It’s exploring every new little corner and detail and not being afraid of unfamiliar territory. We can be brave and muster up the courage to jump into something without having it all figured out. We can experiment and try new things if it doesn’t work. Well, damn then, it doesn’t work. So then, we try something else. Not knowing is the gift. Making the most of the moments given is the key. We have to find joy in the moments. Yes, it’s the proverbial stop and smell the flowers, but it’s true.
Why do we walk cautiously about waiting for every little step to be illuminated when we can dance and skip into the great unknown with confidence? What do you want to do but you don’t because you can’t “see” how it will work out? Or, you don’t try because you may have to relinquish control?
One of my all-time favorite humans to have blessed this earth with their presence is Corrie Ten Boom. I’ll save her story for a whole other blog, but she once wrote, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” (Look at me going all religious on your ass.)
Take risks. Leap. Follow your heart with reckless abandon into the great unknown. It’s going to be lots of little gifts if you are paying attention and letting go of that need to know.
Life is fast. The older you get, the more you understand. And it’s certainly too short to be worried about perfection.
Ah, delicious ambiguity—beautiful, delicious, ambiguity.
It’s time we make the most.