Planning for the Unknown

So now that I have my laptop back in my possession, I can finally get back to doing this regularly, as well as working on the WATER Method book. Since I last posted a number of things have happened that caught my attention, and I’ll be sharing them with you over the course of the next few posts.

For starters, I found out that my new child is going to be a bouncing baby boy. Cool, right? Everone was like, “you must be so excited!” Or they would start talking to me about how wonderful having children is going to be. You know what my response was? I was not very excited at all. In fact, my response was so lackluster, that my wife was very concerned, and wanted to make sure I was OK.

Probably not the best indicator that I was showing the proper level of enthusiasm, huh?

So we sat down and had a talk. She wanted to know what the heck was up with me, and why I was a bit detatched from the situation. Turns out I had two concerns: 1.) That child rearing is going to be a lot of work (and it is; whoever told you differently is likely your mum or dad, because they want grandkids anyway), and 2.) I was concerned about the financial strain that children inevitably put on the household (diapers alone will cost you an additional $200/month).

Now, being a therapist and having a penchant for knowing a lot about other people, it seems I missed the boat when it came to myself and my worries here. My wife, in her infinite wisdom shared with me something very solid. I won’t get into the whole conversation here, but the gist of it went something like this.

“You don’t know that its going to be difficult and hard. We have no idea whether or not our child is going to be difficult or easy. We just don’t know.”

So here I stand before you defying my own method of managing anxiety once again. However, I do so to prove a valuable point.

Just because we can’t see or even control the unknown, doesn’t mean we don’t want to.

The insanity of it all, is that we know that the unknown is out there. We know that we can’t control it. We know that even if we try our absolute best to control every aspect of it, it can still turn around and go in the opposite directon of what we really intended. So why do we try to hard to grab this concept? What drives us to get to this place where try to plan for what we can’t see?

In my humble opinion, such as it is, is that we do this because the alternative is not very appetizing. The alternative is doing nothing, and waiting for fate to figure out how its going to handle our lives. Planning for what we can’t see is like taking enough provisions for a camping trip (in case a bear shows up and eats your food), or making sure your sail boat is in tip top shape in case you weather a storm. We do this because we have the unique ability to live vicariously through others, see their mistakes, and learn from them. We do our best to ensure that life doesn’t turn out poorly, and if we can put in some failsafes to try to improve the odds in our favor, then so be it.

So what’s my point here? My point is that even though you can’t control the unknown, you can control what you do about the unknown.  The unknown might scare you to death (like this child rearing thing does for me to a greater or lesser degree), but recognizing that the unknown is something we can’t control right now, and letting the unknown go can be valuable. The unknown doesn’t go away, but the power we give it over our emotions can at least be decreased a little bit.

By the way, turns out I am excited about my baby, but I’m not expressing it appropriately. Not sure they’ve written a book on how you’re supposed to express this, but that just goes to show you that there are parts of my socially inept adolescence still hanging around in my personality. Who knew.