Nothing in life is guaranteed. There’s no one thing or person we can count on one hundred percent of times in life. It’s hard to think about but it’s the truth. No refund policy is one hundred percent reliable. No government law will protect you one hundred percent of the time. Even the shows we love are fallible to being cancelled or dropped in the middle of a season. There’s nothing in life that we can be completely certain about. Many people, company, and things would like us to believe we can rely on them one hundred percent of the time. In all our hearts we really know that nothing is promised.
But that doesn’t stop us from relying on more and more things as we grow. We go from insecure as vulnerable little babies. Then we learn to depend on our parents to feed and shelter us. We learn to depend on the government to protect us. We expect our loves to care for us and so much more. And that’s how life is supposed to feel. We need that feeling of dependability. Nobody wants to feel uncertain all the time. That would be a life that is unstable. Imagine the horrible anxiety you would have every day. Nonetheless, there will always be things we still feel uncertain about. You will have a feeling deep in your gut about something you’re not really certain about. So what are you uncertain about?
Here’s a short story on what I’m uncertain about.
As a kid I always felt like I was exceptionally intelligent. It wasn’t anything my parents shoved down my throat. I was just a deep thinker. When my friends were playing with toys and smashing things everywhere I was busy trying to figure how the toys worked. If that piece was connected to that piece then how does this other piece turn the arm. I remember one of the toys I was most fascinated with as child was the Rubiks cube. I never actually learned how to solve it. Well I did learn how to solve it. But I didn’t spend months trying to figure out the right moves. Instead, I was taking it apart and examining how it turned with all those different joints. I was fascinated.
The journey of developing my intelligence continued as I entered into school. I was always the first to finish the quiz. I was always the first to come up with novel ideas and answers to my teachers questions. It wasn’t always the answer she or he was looking for. But I would surely find a solution. And don’t let me get started on the mind-bending questions I would fire off at teachers during lectures. I was the kid that wanted to learn it all or not learn anything at all. So you can’t teach me about the table of elements without explaining which each one is, where you find them, and how they interact with each other. I can imagine the pressure I put on my poor elementary school teachers.
Eventually my teachers noticed my talents and great mind. I was quickly put into testing for gifted students. And I quickly passed. Now I was in the class with all the smart kids. Or at least that’s what they said. I still rose to the top of my classmates. All the right answers with all the most engaging questions. I was a natural learner. However, I sucked at turning in assignments. I wanted to learn and learn but never have to prove I learned it. What was the point of just memorizing more and more random facts. So I rarely turned in homework assignments. And I often just answered seventy five percent of questions on my tests as I was confident I would at minimum pass.
And this went on through middle and highschool. I was pushed into this accelerated math class. Then into a whole math class above my grade level. Then I was in an AP chemistry class. And before I knew it my whole school schedule was filled with AP classes and high-level electives. I loved it. I was getting to learn and expand my mind. It was the greatest feeling being able to satisfy my curiosity in so many interesting subjects. But man were those homework assignments and random quizzes so dreadful. It was a lot of work just staying motivated to keep turning in easy, and repetitive assignments. It wasn’t smart work but busy work. And I hated being busy doing something I wasn’t passionate about.
Eventually all of that led to me graduating as an esteemed AP Honor. Of course I wasn’t top of my class. But I passed everything I needed to. And this was all being in school essentially half the time as all my peers. Often I was stuck in hospital beds getting through sickle cell pain crises. But I was glad to graduate. It was a celebration. Then I headed to a college to do it all over again. Another four years of classes and lectures that usually didn’t spark my interest. And of course there was tons of painful busywork. At some point I thought to myself, “Why am I doing all of this?” Then to take it further I thought, “Why did I even do all of the twelve years before?” I wasn’t certain that all the work was worth it.
And that’s the same feeling I have today. Back in college I had to make the hard decision of dropping out. It wasn’t an easy choice but it was one that needed to be made. I felt uncertain in my gut that it would be worth my time. And now today I feel that but on a grand scale. Is working to become a successful businessman worth it. Is becoming a multi-millionaire worth it? Is life and everything we endure through it even worth it? Why or why not? I ask myself these questions almost daily. And I’m still searching for the answer. Because there’s no worse feeling than working your ass off to reach your goal but as soon as you cross the finish line you realize that it was all one big facade.
Let’s hope life isn’t one big facade.