Jump to content

Living in an uncertain world. How to deal? Please.

Recommended Posts

I'm not really sure what I'm looking for so I'll just write down my thoughts.


This probably isn't unique to my generation but I'm fairly intune with what is going on in the world. As I'm fairly young I can only comment on how I see things, present to future.


To me, it seems like the foreseeable future of the world, society, economies, life etc etc is going to be very uncertain for many people. There isn't too much you can really guarantee and little can be taken for granted or as a given. The job you have now might not exist in 5 years time. The person you've just married might decide to divorce you next year. The social service you access to provide support for a rough time in your life might have its budget cut in 6 months time. You could be diagnosed with any number of diseases or terminal illnesses tomorrow and be given a month to live, like someone I know recently. Choices you made at one point in your life, with your best information at the time, might turn out to be a massive mistake. So many external variables, of which, you have little control or influence over come into play throughout your life.


I'm not kidding when I say the future scares the hell out of me. Almost every avenue in my life is a double edged sword with a massive sacrifice and risk associated with it, at least from what I can see. I feel immobilised with fear when it comes to taking opportunities and my reaction to that is usually to do nothing. My life for much of the last ten years has been fairly stagnant, always taking the safe option. I am currently being treated with major depression and social anxiety. Whenever I describe fears I have about a particular opportunity to better my life, I often feel that the therapist, mental health professional etc makes light of the fear. Infact, I think people tend to romanticize struggle, hardship and mistakes. Yes, for every one person that overcomes and learns from them, another four are eaten up by the system or their life ruined. Mistakes when you are an adult have real consequences. You pay for them one way or another.


I don't know if I can really survive in such an uncertain world. I don't know if I am mentally capable of processing it all and just going with it. My brain doesn't seem to allow for uncertainty without a heavy cost to my mental state. I don't know if I can handle things that I have no control over and be comfortable with it. I don't know if I can shrug my shoulders and just say "I'll cross that bridge when I get there". I can't stay stagnant but I can't leap into the unknown. I'm in a double bind.


My biggest fear is that I'm just not suited to life. That I'm an 1 in 100 000 individual who isn't meant or cut out for life. That maybe I'm either destined to slip through the cracks and live a life of hardship, or commit suicide.


I don't know if anyone can relate to this, or add their two cents worth. I truly appreciate any respectful thoughts or comments on this.


Thank you for reading (and commenting if you choose to).

Link to comment

Personally, I think life has always been uncertain for generations. If I think back to my great grandparents, grandparents, parents etc etc, life for ALL of them was filled with MAJOR uncertainties, living through two world wars etc. Life was extremely tough, way tougher than today's generation has ever experienced (imo). They all got through it. Why? Simply because that's what people do. We cannot predict the future. Whatever comes our way, we deal with it at the time as best we can. That's the beauty of human beings, their resilience through tough times, they do the best they can. There are examples of this every single day on the news, world wide, how people cope with extreme hardship.


Yes, life is pretty scary these days (and generations before that), but everyone somehow deals with whatever is going on at the present time and gets on with it. Not really much else one can do, so fretting about it really wastes a lot of energy for nothing. There is lot of truth in the phrase "cross that bridge when you get to it", imo.

Link to comment
Hi, Jonty. I like your signature.


Could you give me some specific examples of actions you are afraid to take and what you believe the "real consequences" will be?


Thanks, it is a part of my favorite Tool song - "Reflection".


What triggered this thread was the possibility of some further study over the course of the next few years. It is a great opportunity for me and something that I want to do. My heart is saying "Do it! Do it! Do it!" but my brain is thinking "Hey wait a sec, there are some big risks involved, don't be so silly!". I have a few people helping with my depression and they are encouraging of taking the opportunity, generally making light of my concerns about the future, while stressing that doing this will lift me out of depression. It isn't as clear cut for me though. For instance, further down the track there is a large practical component of the course which means I will be working full time for free for several months. Balancing that with work, family, etc is going to be hard. Basically I don't know if I can afford to do it. Technically it isn't something I need to worry about right now. I could start this month and not have to worry about it for 2 years.


It is stressing me out to think of all the possibilities that could occur from now until 2 years. Worst case scenario is I come to do the practical aspect of it and find out I can't afford to do it and have to quit part way through. I know a tonne of people who would just dive into this opportunity and just let things happen. My mind can't accept that way of living and I'm cautious. To me though, not thinking into the future and considering every eventuality is so careless and a bizarre way to live. At the same time, I know people who take risks and get good things. I can't help be disatisfied with my cautiousness, which leaves me in dead end situations feeling resentful and depressed.


I just don't understand how anyone can live in the world with so much uncertainity. I don't know if I can live in a world like that.

Link to comment

Ah, I understand your position. Come September I begin an internship for my Master's program - 1 of 2 semesters in which I have to basically work full-time for free as well - I am super stressed about how that's going to work with my current job. And uncertainty about the job market in my area for after I graduate, and student loans. I have been very anxious about the future too. Maybe that's why I was drawn to your thread.


Well, I can say that what keeps me going is knowing two things: 1. If I don't try and try my hardest, I'll regret it someday and I will think less of myself for not having finished what I started. and 2. I know that what I'm going to school for is all I've ever really wanted to do for a living. I don't know if either of those things spark anything in you.


Two years is a long time to plan for the few months you have to do what you gotta do, I know that . . . what are your options? Can you make the logistics work?


I agree that uncertainty kills. I hate it too. It sucks knowing that you don't know, that everything you take for granted could be sucked away at any moment. Have you studied Buddhism at all? It helps me to deal with the uncertainty.

Link to comment

Thanks for the input Capricorn, I always appreciate your posts.


I agree with that. I don't think I can really comment (nor would I like to) on what my great grandparents went through during the Depression and the World Wars. I can beat myself up for possibly being so ignorant of that but I can only really deal with the world that I live in and the world I have inherited. Today's world has its own set of challenges, whether they are greater or lesser than the previous generations comes down to opinion and viewpoint and nothing really factual. I think people tend to romanticize how righteous their generation was too. I recently read a book by Alan Watts that would of been written in the early 60's and he was talking about young people. Everything he said regarding the young people (lazy, superficial, hedonistic, irresponsible, drug addicted, promiscuous) is spoken of my generation and I bet the generations after mine. I'm getting off topic...


Why is there alot of truth in the phrase "cross that bridge when you get it"? The other phrase that has been given to me is "it will work itself out". Why will it work itself out? I can mitigate or minimise some of the risks but partly, it is just down to variables out of my control. Seems like blind faith to me to accept and be comfortable with letting things just play out.

Link to comment

Yes, I'm actually fairly into Buddhism. I've been attending a local Buddhist society twice weekly for over a year now and have read lots. I'm thinking of taking the five precepts this Vesak day. I like their philosophy on life, much of it is what I value naturally and it has helped me immensely but this aspect of life I still battle with. Even though we are civilised, life seems to me a mix of luck, hard work and survival of the fittest. Hard work on its own isn't a guarantee on its own.


I don't want to be a downer. Please remember that I am looking at things through the tainted mind of someone with major depression. I assume you are American? If so, I know how bad your economy is for new graduates (or at least I think I do). The possibility of graduating and not being able to find work is a real possibility for you (as with almost all college graduates). If for instance, you aren't able to find work, what then? That fear for me is so immobalising just thinking about.


Well, I guess there are some things that I can do to get through that period. For instance, I could do more hours over the summer break to try and cover that period. The sucky thing is, in all likelihood I will be working in that industry during my study. The practical must be done at TWO different places (140 - 160 days in both total), meaning I could do one prac at my work but the other would have to be done somewhere else. Effectively I would have to quit my job, unless they would be willing to give me unpaid leave for the duration of other prac. I suppose it isn't impossible but it will be tricky.



Link to comment

Yes, you are correct and not being a downer at all when it comes to the American economy! I think a lot of Americans are unsure and anxious about the future. Hearing you put it that way - what will I do if I do graduate and can't find a job? actually helped me to read that. Because that is the worst-case scenario - that's what I'm facing, and it helped to see it in writing. You gotta know what you're up against before you can fight it. Thank you.


As for you - it sounds like you have some options and it's gonna suck for awhile, but if you want to do it, it can be done. Do you want it bad enough? That's all it comes down to.


Congrats on taking the five precepts. I'm just getting into Buddhism, so I'm not quite there yet. The thing that appeals to me about it is that sort of encourages you to be in your head - I agree with your statement "much of it is what I value naturally" and feel the same way. I've looked for a local chapter, but one of the reasons I like Buddhism so much is that I can practice it alone so I'm not sure about getting into a sort of "organized religion" type of situation with it. Any thoughts there?

Link to comment

Hmm. Well, part of my licensure process is to work as an intern for a couple years after graduation. I have to accumulate 3,000 hours of internships under supervision in order to become licensed. So, I feel like finding an internship won't be a problem cause I'll be working for free. What I need to do is find a job which will be extremely flexible. My boyfriend has said that he will pick up the slack with bills during this time. So I need to work on finding a job that will have flexible hours, or an internship which has flexible hours so that I can continue to work at my current job.


I guess you just have to narrow it down to a well-defined, achievable goal. What's yours?

Link to comment

Hi Jonty, in my opinion, you're a thinker and that might complicate things more than they're supposed to be. I'm also a deep thinker but I manage to separate it this way: don't keep thinking about something you can't change, unless you can make yourself able". Focus your time on something you can do because thinking only won't take you anywhere near your goal. Just do whatever we can do to succeed.


Thinking about something which is not happening is like thinking about how to survive your cancer while you don't have it. Instead of focusing on what you worry, focus on what you want to achieve. If something happen, be confident enough to believe in yourself that you'll be able to overcome whatever that is.


So, here are what I think you should consider:

- if you can't do anything about it, leave it be. Thinking won't affect anything.

- don't worry about things you don't have to, yet.

- there's no living person not cut out to live so get yourself confident enough to face whatever coming.

- have dreams and focus on that. You'll have many better things to do in order to achieve that than figuring out about uncertain things.


You can't figure out uncertain things. It's like you want to answer questions that haven't been asked yet.

Link to comment
Why is there alot of truth in the phrase "cross that bridge when you get it"?.

Because I believe there is no point in wasting so much energy on "what if's" and more or less putting your life on hold "just in case something *may not* work out" in a year's time etc. I can't imagine living life that way. It sounds exhausting and draining. For example, you want to do this study course, but you talk yourself out of it because of the vague possibility that 2 years down the road something may change. So what? At least you had the experience. You learned something new. You had a good time doing something you love and enjoy and have an interest in etc. That in itself is a good thing!


So, if after two years, something changed, then you cross that bridge and deal with it THEN. Things do somehow sort themselves out and life carries on and you experience the next chapter, wherever it may take you.

Link to comment


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...