“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.” ~John Allen Paulos
A year ago I was finishing my degree in the UK. And I feel in love.
I was confused about my life. What was I supposed to do after my degree? Go back home? Do a masters degree, and in what area? Stay and get a job in the UK? If yes, then what job? The questions in my mind were endless.
It was the feeling of distress and confusion you experience when you’re in a transitional phase in your life. Everyone has felt it at least a couple of times.
For me, it was probably the most confused period of my life, and then it got worse. My father let me know that he wanted me to end my relationship. He thought that because of his appearance and attitude he would be a bad influence.
He told me to choose between the two of them, but I just I couldn’t.
How could you choose between two people that are important to you?
My father decided cut me off and didn’t want to have anything to do with me anymore.
I felt disappointed with my father’s behaviour and confused because I would not be able to continue my studies without emotional and financial support; and of course I felt alone.
You always have the suspicion that some people might betray, disappoint, or hurt you, but for many of us, it never crosses our minds that our parents could be those people. My father, the person I thought would always be there for me, didn’t want to see me anymore—and for such a stupid reason.
I was firm in my decision to keep seeing my boyfriend. What if this happened again in the future; would I always need to choose who to spend time with based on my father’s approval? Was I willing to put each person that enters in my life through my father’s test? I certainly wasn’t!
I felt angry. I couldn’t sleep well for almost six months. I cried almost every day. I was suffering as if my father had died, since he wasn’t in my life.
During the summer, when I visited home, we exchanged some harsh words, and then I said something I was longing to say since the day I was able to understand what the words meant:
“I’m going to make it on my own.”
My father offered to help me with the tuition fees, after he calmed down, but not with the cost of living, and that was fine. I believe he wanted me to take responsibilities in my life, but he didn’t want to leave me alone all at once.
I took the degree part-time so I could find a job and study at the same time.
Returning to the UK, I decided to share a flat with my boyfriend and a friend. I also found a job as a waitress. I could find nothing else with only a psychology degree and no experience.
I couldn’t study. I didn’t want to work as a waitress. I couldn’t enjoy my friends. I felt that I’d made all the wrong decisions when I could easily have easily chosen the easiest way—just do what I was told.
But just like anyone out there with a fire burning in their heart, I couldn’t and didn’t want to be told what to do!
Some words that my father said a few years ago were echoing in my head: “You have to be able to support yourself; otherwise someone will have control over you because he is giving you money.”
Of all the people in the world, I didn’t want my father to be that person he was talking about.
My life, since I returned to the UK, has been filled with uncertainty. At first, I didn’t know if I was going to make it or just fail. I still don’t know. I quit my job as a waitress and I decided to postpone my degree until I find the money to pay for it by myself.
I live in uncertainty each and every day of my life and I have no financial security whatsoever.
I’ve been offered a job at a bank, but the contract is still conditional, so that may not pan out. I don’t know where my next check is going to come from and my relationship with my father is still uncertain.
During this time, I’ve pushed people away, I’ve come closer with others, I cried, I laughed, I suffered and I enjoyed myself at the same time.
The truth is that every single one of us lives in uncertainty. No one knows what’s going to happen next. We just occasionally like to pretend we do because it allows us to feel safe.
But you know what? In choosing to live with uncertainty instead of taking the easy way, I realized that my father gave me the best present ever. Through what at first seemed so cruel, he taught me to stand on my own two feet.
At the end of every day, no matter how good or bad that day was, I am thankful and I know that I chose what was right for me at the time.
Even when I have no money at all, or when I’m feeling lonely because I miss my dad—we still have a somewhat cold relationship—I still know that at the end, no matter how bad it gets, I’m going to make it.
And it feels so good to know that you created the life you have. It feels good to know that your future is up to you and no one else.
It feels good to not know what’s next.
At the end of the day, the conclusion I’ve drawn is that no person in our lives is going to be there forever, and no situation is going to stay the same forever. So we might as well enjoy it as much as we can, while it lasts.
Sometimes this can seem so scary that we want to hide under our covers and never come up. It can be so scary that we want other people to call the shots in our lives.
But it is also so liberating, so exciting to walk into the unknown, on our own two feet, ready to discover what’s next.
Photo by John Loo