Updated: Jan 2, 2020
“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.” ― Gilda Radner
Sometime in high school my Mom put up a magnet with this quote on the fridge. Every time I would open the fridge or even pass by I would always read it. I liked it because it had a nice poetic ring to it. I had always been a deep and introspective person, even from a young age, I loved the idea of personal growth. From my shallow point of view though and meager life experience, I didn't really connect with it on a true level or fully grasp its full meaning when she first put it up.
When my world came crashing down in 2014 and I had to return home from college abruptly, reading this quote multiple times every day was challenging. I didn't like it. I was so miserable with my life and didn't want to face the fact that this world was hard and very often unfair. I tried to hold on to the naive hope that I would get my happy ending. The more I tried to though, the more discouraged and empty I would feel.
Unfortunately our culture today often pushes the idea that we can have this perfect life. And to our great demise, many are not prepared to face challenges life will ultimately throw at us. In the 80s came the helicopter parents who hovered over us, and now we have the snowplow parents who will do absolutely anything to prevent their children from facing any kind of challenge. According to a survey by Morning Consult, 76% of adult parents reminded their adult children of deadlines they need to meet, including for schoolwork, 16% helped write all or part of a job or internship application, and 11% would contact a child's employer if he or she had an issue at work. This has also led to the legal scandals of parents paying obscene amounts of money for their children to get into top-tier colleges.
Before I went to college, my family, friends and basically everyone around me told me that these would be the best four years of my life. Well...they ended up being some of the worst years of my life. I was not told of the challenges I would face. I know their thoughts were well-meaning, but it left me ill-prepared for the months and years to come.
Fast-forward 5 years, after times of healing and learning, as well as more defeats, trauma and loss, I am at peace. The moment that changed everything, was when I went to a spiritual retreat where the speaker shared with us the difficult reality that there is something deeply wrong with this world and that there is nothing we can do in our own strength to make our lives perfect. As difficult as that is, I have slowly accepted the fact that this world is a crazy, difficult and broken place that is so unpredictable. I have come to terms with the fact that change and trials will always come, and that all my desires will not be met.
I am glad that the world hit me hard, because it made me realize how weak I truly am and how little control I often have. Seeing my own faults and experiencing difficult circumstances made me more empathetic and able to forgive people with more ease. I am able to appreciate what is good in the world. I can even rejoice in suffering and today I love to take risks because I know that my defeats will help me grow. Today I don’t have much fear of the future and embrace change. In fact I don’t like it when I am too comfortable. I always want to be challenged. I don’t want to live in a bubble.
I may never get the happy ending in this life that I used to want. I may never get all the closure and the healing that I desire. But that is OK. The more we cling on to perfection, we lose the ability to enjoy this life. Our unmet dreams that we cling on to will limit us from making a real difference in this world. So let's embrace the uncertainties of this short life we have!