Sometimes I Cry: The Beauty in Not Knowing


Art by Palak Tohan

Lovleen Sahota, Feature Editor

I agree that even though there is almost nothing wrong with growth and knowledge, our thirsty desire to know the future often gets in the way of being able to have peace in life and being spontaneous. The fantasy of knowing has much more to do with our inner egos and our fear of being judged than it does with a genuine desire for knowledge. We want to control something that is completely out of our control: life.

Not having any idea on how to spend your existence on this planet can be stressful. The idea of “not knowing” can make you feel guilty as if life has no meaning. The trouble is, you sooner or later will have to receive a glimpse of what YOU want in YOUR future. 

More than often, I admit, I’m in this constant state of mind where I must figure out many things by myself and as soon as possible. I must start building up my transcripts, starting personal statements, becoming more interactive, etc. 

Many processes such as school and jobs blind and limit us to the one thing of life that is meant to stay evolving: change. The endless continuation of not knowing what exactly it is you want to do with your life transforms into a frustrating matter. 

Many people are willing to offer a range of advice on how to start “knowing” what to do. “Find something that makes you happy,” “do something that inspires you,’ ‘work hard and the rest will take care of itself.” Although these statements have threads of truth attached to them, they are generic and overused to the point where they shine little to no significance on the one who’s been lost for so long. You say to “do what makes you happy,” but that’s an unattainable criterium. How am I supposed to manage a variety of tasks such as seven hours of school, two hours of homework, one hour for SAT prep, two hours of extracurricular/ sports, a few hours of sleep, and continue to embody such idealistic “happiness”? It’s unfit! 

When getting closer to planning out the future, fear begins to settle. 

“What if I work hard at the entirely wrong thing?” “What if I’m no longer passionate about my job?” “What if I begin to hate the career that I majored in?” In a sense, the result of these questions can–conversely–result in more questions. But, in reality, and in all honesty, you can’t know. You can’t know what’s going to make you happy even five years from now. Deciding what you want to do with your life occurs at every moment. It is constant. So much of it is so far out of your control, right from the start, that to feel guilty about your indecision is entirely unfair to yourself. This dilemma utmostly deserves liberation from your minds. 

It is completely okay not to know what you want to do with your life. In fact, perhaps it’s even preferable for a time. It’s also important to briefly look back every now and then. Realize how far you’ve come, regardless of where you are now. If you do this, and really ponder about it, you’ll probably realize just how much you’ve already done with your life, but the full picture is still inevitably being formed. The equation can have infinite solutions. The life you live will never be defined by any one thing. If you continue to embrace the infinite possibilities of existence, then you have at least decided something vital about what you want to do with your life. 

I may find myself at another dead-end, or a crossroad, or on a path that seems to go nowhere and say “I don’t know what to do with my life…” Life is often about trying new things and realizing what you don’t want to be when you “grow up.” Remember, you don’t know what’s coming next. Life is full of interesting plot twists and cliffhangers, but if we continually pursue things that we enjoy doing whether, a job or hobby, it will make the journey interesting and more fun. To take uncertainty and turn it on its head. Every bad thing is an opportunity to make something good happen. Embody that rose-tinted view of the future and everything we could ever be. The gift of not knowing creates the potential for more goodness to be experienced that will, hopefully, delight us in our future. It’s okay if we can’t see what’s to come. It leaves room for curiosity to take the reins.

Begin to cherish the present moments. Don’t dwell on the past. Don’t stress about the future. Just be here, now.