Uncertainty. How many times must I meet you before I remember your stubborn face?
In work, in travel, in body, in love—nothing is truly stable, not at the core. That is the only certainty.
I have learned this lesson so many times, it rolls off my tongue like a prophecy when I speak to friends and vagabonds-to-be about my lifestyle. Yet, I find I must repeatedly teach myself my own lessons, too.
We’re all just human.
We seek, endlessly, for a secure future, a safe home, a lasting relationship, a full stomach, a rich coffer. To do otherwise would render us saints or bodhisattvas. To do otherwise would mean to no longer be human.
The best we can do, then—maybe—is to remind ourselves often that our search for certainty is futile… and then to go on searching anyway.
The best we can do, maybe, is to see the humor in it all.
To observe our fallible human hearts and laugh at them—and love them.
Lately, I’ve been obsessing somewhat over where I’ll live when I return to Costa Rica in September. I know it’s too early to make this decision. I know. Each time I jump on the same cycle of thought, I remind myself of this. I stop. And then the next day I start all over again.
It’s okay. I’m human.
I note without blame or frustration the patterns in my own life—the relationships where I’ve grasped at tomorrow, cities where I’ve hastily sought a room to call home, homes where I’ve ignored the “here” to plan my escape to “there.” I observe all this with a glint of happy laughter.
What a blessing, to have arms strong enough to grasp and a heart strong enough to learn, over and over again, to relinquish control.
This journey is really an aimless walk in the woods, but we forget that. In my imagination, the remembering goes something like this:
Angel: Look how many beautiful trails there are! So many possibilities!
Devil: But, which is the best route to get where we’re going?
A: We’re not going anywhere, come on! Remember, we’re just walking for the joy of it.
D: Right… right. Any path will do, just—
A: Just what?! Any path will do. That’s all.
D: Just, better be careful to choose the right one.
A: What do you mean? There is no right way to get there if we’re not going to any “there” in particular. That’s the whole point.
D: But, what if there are waterfalls on that trail? We wouldn’t want to miss out on any natural wonders, would we?
A: And maybe there are unicorns on this trail. We just don’t know until we try, do we? We’ll see what we see and miss what we miss, and our walk will be exactly perfect.
D: Might as well just stay here. Wouldn’t want to risk heading off in the wrong direction.
A: Not an option. We’re walking. Anywhere. Somewhere. Nowhere. Does. Not. Matter. But we can’t stay here. Life is moving, and we have to move too. So get up, count to three, and choose.
D: But, but… what about unicorns? And waterfalls? What about monsters? There could be monsters! No way, not worth the risk.
D: Nope. Not going anywhere.
D: Not sold. Monsters, remember.
A: Wherever you walk, that is where you’re going. Three.
A: I’ll choose, then. That way.