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"What if ?" - A Train of Thought

This post was actually written a while back, but I think it deserves to be published nevertheless. Just to give a little bit of context - at the time I was in a place where I was finally ready to reflect on a train of thought that had struck me hard a months earlier. By nature, I have always had the philosophy of big dreams, setting the bar high and by the same token, I set very high standards for myself. That, out of nowhere, suddenly broke me one evening, where I sat in the couch and burst into tears. The specific questions that bothered me was; what if I don’t reach my goals? What if I don’t end up living the life that I dream of? What if I haven’t ticked all the boxes (created in my head) at certain age? A lot of what if questions based on the worst case scenario. So, that’s the context, and the text below is based on the quote and then I basically just run with it.

“One of the things you would like to know if you wanted to know something deep about yourself, is that you could face the worst that there was, and prevail”

- Jordan Peterson

You know when you hear something and you just can’t seem to get it out of your head? That’s how I’ve felt for the past 24 hours about this quote.

They say that if you want to write, write about something that makes you angry, or something you believe in. The first one is out of the question - I mean it’s Christmas, so no unleashing the beast now. However the latter of the two might be a good place to start.

On the various platforms that I find myself sharing whatever with whomever, I’ve talked about my occasional fear for the future and facing the unknown that is exactly that - the future.

I was brought up to be optimistic, to always look at the glass as being half full and to genuinely believe that the sky is the limit, but, still bearing in mind that big dreams demands hard work. The aspect of optimism, being one of the things about my upbringing that I am without a doubt the most grateful for. The before mentioned provides me with a heartfelt belief that everything will turn out just fine, that I will live a happy life and that my goals and dreams are within reach. It convinces me that I can face and overcome what life throws my way, and that I can build a life myself and for others.

Until it doesn't.

Somedays, my belief system fails me. It’s far from often, but it happens. It’s not anxiety and it’s not depression, it’s just being human.

Which is why that quote from Jordan Peterson really sat with me for long. The uncertainty of not knowing for sure that the life I dream of is within my reach, can bring tears to my eyes. Which is, rationally speaking, ridiculous. Obviously, there’s no way to know about what is a head of you, and that, I’ve had to learn, is okay.

But then what? How do you find comfort in the unknown of what lies ahead?

I don’t know to be honest. However, I’ve found that the basics must be in order. Get your sleep - the amount you actually need. Move - exercise, run, take care of yourself. Talk - with friends or family, it doesn’t matter, but be sure to talk about it. One of the major fears of most people is to be publicly embarrassed, and maybe that’s why learning that those around you, know or have felt, what you are currently feeling. Those things help - at least it did for me.

We’ll never know if we can prevail or not, nor do we know if we’ll ever face the worst that there is - and that’s okay.

Sebastian Telmer