I want resolution and I want it now!

Answers. Resolution. Happy endings.


When one is in the process of re-booting one’s life, it’s understandable to want answers. Personally, I loathe doing anything without a plan all mapped out. I want to know where I’m going, when I’ll arrive, and exactly what to expect along the way.


Only life doesn’t seem to present itself in such an agreeable manner. Instead, we’re forced to adapt, to flex with the circumstances, to react to unanticipated conditions. It’s not on a timetable that suits us or maybe it’s exactly the timetable we want and things, at least initially, unfold as we predicted they would.


The workplace turned into a hell hole and we were fired. We hated our job, so we left. Our relationship fizzled and we find ourselves on our own, again. But, somehow too, we feel relieved. At least we’re out of it.


But, then what?


I was talking with a friend who is re-booting her career, having left one that was good but boring. Thrilled with her decision to quit, she has yet to determine what she wants to pursue next. “The thing about it is,” she complained, “I want the answer now. I hate this waiting around, trying to figure things out.”


Sound familiar?


It does to me. Now, however, I am in an enviable position—I finally know what I want to do: I want to write. So, that’s what I’m doing (albeit for free); and doing the thing I love is a tonic for the many unanswered parts of my life. I don’t know how I’ll provide for myself. I don’t know when this question will get settled. I don’t know how many intermediate steps along the way will be necessary before I find that place where my life feels resolved. When I get my happy ending.


But, I do know this: answers don’t come on a deadline. We can utilize all the Myers-Briggs tests, career counseling, and prayers as we like, but this process cannot be rushed. Personally, I find this infuriating. I have organized my entire life based on deadlines and I feel more in control with that structure. It has worked well for me in so many arenas, but trying to communicate with that elusive sense of self and who we truly are and what we want to do going forward cannot be rushed.


And so it is that days, weeks, months, even years can go by without answers. We know we don’t have it quite right but cannot articulate what “right” looks like. The waiting, the not knowing is dreadful. Personally, the pervasive anxiety I feel worrying about whether or not “it’ll all work out” and how might I escape this purgatory occupies many hours of my day.


But then I ask myself, am I being too demanding in my expectations of what resolution feels like? Am I so vague-intolerant that I am making the situation worse? Can I not find some sort of Buddhist-like joy in the waiting? In the journey? In the lack of answers? When I examine how I actually spend my days, am I even suffering? Does this not knowing merit so much hand wringing?


So then I go further with this line of questioning: is this self-induced agony serving as a distraction because not having the answers scares me so much?


When I think of people I’ve known who either manufacture drama so they can be upset about something or others who schedule too many activities so that they don’t have a moment for quiet self-reflection, it’s easy to see what they’re doing.  Is this what I’m doing, too?


When I’m not torturing myself with my incessant, useless demands for clarity and security, a small voice reminds me that there’s a chance that something I haven’t even considered, some sort of amazing surprise, may await me if only I can manage to quit fretting.


But answers don’t come on a timetable, and somehow I have to find a mode of peacefully existing with the uncertainty until things clarify. Easier said than done, of course, but then I think of my friend and her impatience for the solution to present itself.


I nod in sympathy and counsel her simply to be patient, do what’s right there, available in the now and see what unfolds…she just might be surprised.


What techniques have you used to assuage yourself in times of confusion? How have you handled long moments of uncertainty? Has life astonished you with marvelous discoveries you would never have dreamed up for yourself?


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2 Responses to “I want resolution and I want it now!”

  1. Julianne Crispin Says:

    Rett, I have a resolution for both of us. Feeling really crappy today, so will call you about it tomorrow. Great to see you this weekend!

  2. grasshopper Says:

    I think that “knowing,” is an illusion. When we think we “know,” we actually don’t. When we think we “don’t know,” we’re actually closer to the truth than we think we are. When we’re confused, we’re recognizing that the universe is organized in a way beyond our comprehension and that we can’t see clearly where we’re supposed to go….confusion is the greatest time in our lives to make new discoveries, because we’re open to anything by the sheer fact that we feel “out of control.” Long moments of uncertainty, as you call them, can be unsettling, but I think they are opportunities to become stronger, and re-new ourselves. Incredible discoveries can and do happen…often when we least expect it. The key is to just be as open as possible to new experiences, and to embrace new opportunities when they come, even if they seem a bit far fetched or unrealistic at the time. Dreams come true all the time, to those who believe, and take action in every way that they can until the right opportunity comes along…

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