The philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once wrote, “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.” Kierkgaard’s statement is a powerful reminder of three pieces of timeless wisdom pertaining to the uncertainty of life.
First, we need to make “room” in our thinking for the unfolding MYSTERY of our lives. While our choices do have a great deal to do with how our lives may turn out, we do not have complete control over our future. There are parts of our lives within our control, and parts over which we do not have a say. The more we can let go of what is not ours to control, the more positive energy we can bring to that which we can control.
Second, we need to learn to get more comfortable with the UNCERTAINTY that this MYSTERY brings to us. Each and every day of our lives, we are seduced by things that seem to offer us certainty and security. We resist the notion that life isn’t always going to go as planned, and seek to control every circumstance we perceive will bring us good health, endless youth, financial or emotional stability. But the sooner we learn that there really is no comfortable, predictable, lasting certainty to many aspects of our lives, the sooner we can more gracefully accept the basic impermanence and unpredictability of life, and turn our energies toward dealing more effectively with life on its own terms.
Third, we need to stay mindful that “time waits for no one,” and that we cannot afford to get stuck in the abyss of indecision while LIFE MOVES ON. We cannot expect ourselves to have all the answers before we must make all our important decisions. Remember: “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.” True, with age comes wisdom. But so many of our big life decisions cannot wait for the wisdom of the years. If life truly must be “lived forwards” and understood later ,without all the answers to guide us, then sometimes the best we can do is shore up our courage, follow our instincts, and just “go for it, ” with the lessons coming only afterwards.
And so, at times “life happens while we are making other plans” and because we don’t always have all the answers when we need them, sometimes our only means of transportation along our journey . . is a giant leap of faith! This will preserve the fluidity of our lives and give us the “lessons” and the understanding that sometimes come only after we have acted.