A Season of Unknowns: What’s Helping (and What’s Not)

A Season of Unknowns: What’s Helping (and What’s Not)

A Season of Unknowns: What’s Helping (and What’s Not)

Read a teen’s version of how we can help in a seasons of unknowns.

I’m finding this summer unexpectedly challenging. From the oldest finishing high school and soon heading away to college, to the youngest getting ready to start a full day of school in first grade, life is heading into a new chapter. There are new unknowns. I don’t know what it will all look like. And that feels uncomfortable.

Some days I feel untethered, unsure, and wildly unsteady. This slew of unknowns feels scary to me, particularly around having an adult child and how things will play out with finances, college and the like. In this unsteady space? I have less patience with those around me, Crazy Go Fast Lady knocks more at the door, and I want to somehow manage everything and everyone into well-defined box where there are no unknowns. Because then, maybe, I’d feel better.

I’ve tried to manage things into a box plenty of times before. I know I don’t end up feeling actually better, so I’m trying to skip that mode (to the best of my ability). I also know I know things always end up working out one way or another, though that thought isn’t very comforting right now either (too pie in the sky). So I’m not going to try and make myself be “there” and “okay” with it all when it’s not where I am, because that typically ends up backfiring.

Instead, here’s what I’m finding that seems to leave me feeling better while not causing collateral damage around me (which just creates a mess that needs to get cleaned up): keeping on doing my morning routine (movement + meditation (i.e., trying to sit still) + smoothie) and reminding myself on the daily of the following:

Notes to Self in These Unknowns:

  1. We can’t do our kids’ lives for them (or make them “get” something). Because their lives are not our lives. We can’t anymore than someone else could live for us.
  2. They will experience pain and struggles sometimes. We all do.
  3. They will learn through their experiences. We all can.
  4. Actual conversations are useful — for me and them. Conversations help get me out of my head (at least for a moment). They open the door for any of us to talk about what’s rolling around (and maybe my kids have some unknowns poking at them too). I’m also reminding myself to close my mouth a little more and listen, keeping in mind that what my kids (or spouse) care about may be very different than what I do. That doesn’t make either better/worse — it simply makes it what we each care about, and we all can have our own opinions.
  5. Sometimes life feels uncomfortable. It doesn’t mean I’m doing something wrong. It means I’m human and life is messy.
  6. If my happiness is dependent on another’s behavior or actions, I’m setting myself up to be unhappy.

I’m not going to pretend that my morning routine and these reminders to self are making everything all hunky dory. I still worry a lot some days and feel like I’m going to topple over. However, somehow they are helping me find a bit of breathing room and space among the unknowns. And there is a genuine comfortableness in this breathing room that doesn’t come with a side of collateral damage. So, I’m going to keep coming back here — until I have an idea/more clarity about what comes next.

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