Until recently, I have struggled with the idea of an ‘uncertain future’. I grew up in a family of government workers. In Turkey, if you work for the government, you are guaranteed for life. You have job security, full health care coverage etc. So, I valued guaranteeing things.
But I also have this side of me which sort of does not want to be confined. That kept me away from government work so far. It also made me move to a different country. When I came to the US, I had no idea what my future would look like. The only guarantee I had in front of me was the 5 years of PhD. I had no idea what would/will happen after that.
When I was in the middle of the PhD program, the reality of job prospects hit me harder. Most PhD graduates struggle with jobs. I was also experiencing personal changes, which made me question things that I was taking for granted. For example, I am not sure I want to live a stressful life anymore. At least not at the level of stress observed in academic circles.
The realization and the changes led to a total uncertainty about my future. Before, I at least had some potential ideas about what could happen later. But I saw that maybe none of these ‘could’s would happen. This challenged my ‘guarantee’ side. I struggled with this for a year and maybe more. This academic year, especially this semester, however, I have come to total acceptance of the uncertainty (as far as I can feel).
The recent situation with COVID19 was a test ground for me in that aspect. Now, a lot of things are uncertain: Will I be able to go back to Turkey in the summer? Will I be able to renew my visa (I have to do this when I go to Turkey)? If I can’t go in the summer, when will I be able to visit my family next? If I can’t extend my visa in the summer, how can I do it later? When will this situation end? I don’t have an answer to any of these questions but I did not react to this uncertainty. I feel comfortable with it. I think being at ease with uncertainty is becoming more of my nature. It is becoming a part of me. I am happy about this.
How do you deal with uncertainty? If you are comfortable with it, were you always like that or did you change (if the latter, how?)? If you are not, do you want to get rid of tenseness about it? Let’s discuss.