If there is one word to define life, it is unpredictability. You just never know where life will take you. It has now become a mantra in my life. You may have had a grand vision for yourself: here is what I will do when I am 18 and here is what will happen to me at 30. But a vision remains a vision. Some people like unpredictability because it is thrilling. Other people prefer stability whether in career or in personal relationships: settling for traditional career paths and finding like-minded mates who are, well, just predictable. And they have largely succeeded. But there is a third category of people who never find the kind of predictability that belongs those in the second category as much as they like to be predictable. I happen to be in the third category.
It’s been been many years since high school graduation. At the time of graduation, I was just one of those many idealistic young people ready to save the world. I had a plan to study science and become a doctor as did many of my friends. While I did study science, I didn’t end up being a doctor because I found my interests somewhere else as I explored other subjects. And it’s safe to say that I am now in an area that requires a science background as well as understanding of other disciplines. Before I got here, I also took a detour in another profession, which to me, seemed wonderful at the time until I realized that I wasn’t the right fit. In personal life, little did I know that the friends I have one minute may not be the same friends the next minute. How did life become so out of whack? How did I stray so far from my plan? As I look around me, not many people, especially my high school classmates, have had the same kind of crazy journey. Many are in the same profession they studied for in college, living in the same neighbourhood from their childhood days, and hanging out with friends from the first day of elementary school. Of course, many were married at the “right” age. It is the pattern of predictability. How did they do it?
I really don’t know the answer. We all face different circumstances. What I do know is that life’s unpredictability has actually worked in my favour. It may have taken some precious years out of my life; I can never get back the years lost in my 20’s dealing with situations I had never envisioned for myself. My message is that sometimes, do not be afraid of change. As hard as you try to resist, life is unpredictable whether you like it or not, unless of course you are one of those who have never been thrown off track. We tend to associate unpredictability with the negatives such as stress and worry. But that is mistaken as I have learned over the years. What I’ve learned from a life that can probably take the grand prize for unpredictability is the many lessons you find out about yourself. Without the wild swings in my life, would I have met the people that I have met? Would I have broadened my horizons this much if I had not studied other subjects? Would I have learned about my own strengths and foibles? Being an optimist, I am certain that whatever direction life takes us, it will all be for the very best. Perhaps, unpredictability is the ingredient that spices up life.