The Importance Of Not Knowing

Last Friday my schedule changed substantially. Through a series of events I gained 40 hours a week in which I can do anything I want for the time being. I can work on building up my freelance business, I can write, walk, and take care of the nagging things that pile up when you don’t have time to do them. I also lost a substantial amount of stress at the same time.

I’m excited about what’s to come, but I’ve spent the last few days decompressing and figuring out what my days will look like now. In a happy coincidence this was also the first weekend in a long time that we haven’t had too much to do, so we were able to really enjoy it. We went to yard sales and a birthday party on Saturday and did a whole lot of relaxing between that afternoon and Sunday. There was even some fun hanging out with friends and family, which was really nice.

We also moved to the other side of the campground on Friday, to a corner spot with a bigger yard and a few trees, pictures coming soon. My office windows now look out over a creek, a gravel road, and a big open field… it’s awesome. Which is particularly nice because it looks like I’ll be spending a lot more time at this desk now. All in all it’s been a really exciting few days, and now I’m ready to get down to work.

I’m a planner. I like to plan out my day, my week, my trips, things to do on the weekend, the next 5 years, and well, you get the point. I can think of a million possible endings to anything.

The funny thing is, since we started this adventure, we really don’t know what’s going to happen next. We’re not entirely sure where we’re going to end up or what will change along the way. We know what we’re doing today, and I have some loose goals for the future, but there’s no definitive five or ten year plan. We may end up in a house again in that time, or we may stay in the Turtle for years to come. We may travel full time or we may end up taking lots of smaller trips. I don’t know what will happen with my freelance gigs, or this blog, or what other opportunities will come up along the way.

I’m starting to realize that there’s something really important about not having it all planned out. That realization solidified this morning when I read this short post by Jon Acuff about the unknown. He says that journeys where the outcome is already known are not adventures, they’re errands. And he’s exactly right.

Intentional change is important, and I think it’s something everyone should make a point of doing. Deciding where and who you want to be and taking the steps every day to get there. But at the same time I think it can be easy to become too focused on the life you’ve decided to create and miss opportunities to possibly create something even better.

We have a tendency to only dream so big. Even when the dream feels like it’s at the farthest reaches of your imagination it’s always possible that there’s something you couldn’t begin to imagine right outside the life you’re planning. It may be better or it may just be different, or it may be the same end result but the path you take to get there ends up being more scenic.

Not knowing allows you to say yes to opportunities you might have turned down because they aren’t part of the plan, it lets you veer off course and learn new things, correct your course when you realize something isn’t working. Not to mention there’s just something fun about now knowing what’s coming next.

It’s not an excuse to not do anything at all though, you can’t just float along hoping to end up somewhere great. Do things that energize you, things you love, every day. Always keep moving, but don’t worry so much about the destination.

Right now I have very little idea how things will look in a year, or between now and then, but the possibilities are really exciting. To get there I’ll keep designing, keep writing, keep trying to replace bad habits with good ones.

If you know exactly where you’re going and the steps it takes to get there that’s great, but leave some room for getting lost and ending up somewhere you could never have imagined.

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