I Don’t Know

Karina - Moosic, Pennsylvania
Entered on May 23, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: question
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I believe in embracing uncertainty. To me, the words “I don’t know” are the most freeing and honest in the English language.

I used to be afraid to say these words. I’m a planner by nature. I’m comfortable knowing my next move, the move after that, and the move after that. I structured my days through high school and scheduled them through college. After graduation I enrolled in a post-baccalaureate premedical program. I had studied in Brazil, where my experiences inspired me to help improve the lives of others, and medicine seemed to me the most fundamental way to do this. I delved into the medical world: I volunteered at a free clinic and worked in a microbiology lab while taking classes. I was uncertainly certain that I would be successful. I wasn’t. I didn’t feel renewed or strengthened by the challenges of the program. Days passed, and the battles waged between my heart and my mind grew fiercer. My mind urged me to continue, while my heart fought against every effort. It took me a year and a half to step off the battlefield. In a strange twist, I ended up being the flaw in the plan.

Then I got scared. I was scared of leaving a place and a program that I’d invested in for I didn’t know what. For weeks, I was in a daze. My friends asked, “What are you going to do now?” and I’d tell them plans of job searches and program applications, just to have something to say. The truth was I had no idea.

I left the program, left my job and moved back in with my parents. I don’t know what’s next. Yet at my most unsure, I am at my most receptive: open and listening to what is within me and around me. Each possibility is a question that I’m exploring in an attempt to answer.

Embracing the uncertainty of my future has spilled into my daily living. I accept moments as they are and as they come. My perception is not necessarily reality. The phrase I was once afraid to utter is now the most grounding set of words I know. It opens me up to possibilities, and summons my inner knowing: a wellspring of genuine perception. It’s what’s drawn me to write this essay, and guides me through word after word. I trust that it will lead me to where I need to go. But where that may be, I don’t know.