If you are like me, you have a love/hate relationship with surprises. While I love the idea of a thrilling surprise, I am also a very impatient and curious person, and ‘Let me see, let me see!” is my common refrain. I know that this is terrible, but when I was little, I used to surreptitiously open up my Christmas presents to see what was hidden inside. My mother never knew, until I told her as an adult. As I grew older, I grew out of this stage. However, my desire to know what hidden gem lay inside the package remained. Similarly, I used to approach life that way.
I thought that if I knew the future, I could avoid the mistakes, doubts, bad choices, hurts, regrettable decisions, and the inevitable feelings that go with them. In essence, my goal was to avoid the very things that lead to life lessons and wisdom. There is no doubt that there are things in my life that if I’d known the outcome of my actions, I would have chosen differently.
Fortunately, I’ve grown to appreciate the comfort of the unknown. It allows me to dwell in the present, the only moment of certainty. It also provides me the freedom to act without being hampered by the knowledge of the future. In reality, even if I were given a glimpse of the future and the likely outcome that goes based on my own present actions, we must remember, to weigh the fact that each of us is connected, and that the actions of others affect the outcome of our own future. The wonder of life is that it is unpredictable and subject to change, and if a single moment changes, it can greatly affect future outcomes. (Just thinking about it, makes my head hurt.)
One point that a Daily OM article makes is that “Looking back on your life, you would likely be hard pressed to say that anything in your past should not have happened.” Well, I disagree with some of this statement. Granted, it is true to a large extent. Nevertheless, after witnessing various outcomes caused by my actions, there are several choices that I would change post-haste. In my case, those that cause a unintentional fallout to others. Yet, facing my actions brings with it both a lesson and strength.
I sincerely doubt that I would be the person that I am today, blessed with all the people and things that I love, if I’d known what the future held for me. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and even though we do not see it immediately, we will come to realize it — when the time is right. Every person and thing, even those we consider unpleasant, are in our lives for a reason, and only by accepting and embracing them as integral to our journey, do we learn from them, and of their importance. Much like knowing the ending of a good book or movie, knowing “the big picture” robs us of the experience of living our lives as they should be — in the present.