Here’s To a Life Of Insecurity, Uncertainty, Failure

Yesterday was a wonderful day. Not only did I have two separate and delicious get-togethers with good friends, I felt no sadness, no tears, no angst when I was alone again.

I seem to have turned a corner — maybe not with the sadness, because sadness seems to be a constant underlying theme of my life even when I am otherwise happy, but with the angst. At the moment, I feel good. Unconflicted. Accepting. Though to be honest, I don’t know what it is I am accepting. Maybe that uncertainty is an acceptable way of life — because, truly, any certainty we feel is a matter of hope over reality. That the unusual doesn’t usually happen helps fuel the fantasy of certainty, but anything can happen to any of us at any time.

A friend sent me the following text: So here’s to a life of insecurity, uncertainty, failure, and most of all adventure. And oh, that sounds so strangely wonderful! We tend to think that security, certainty, and success are all things to be sought after, but what if they aren’t? What if security lies in uncertainty and failure? What if certainty lies in failure and insecurity? What if success lies in failure, uncertainty, and insecurity?

I don’t know what succarouselcess is since it remains elusive. I don’t know what failure is, either, though I have suffered too much of it. Still, success sometimes brings unrealistic expectations, forces us into a role we aren’t comfortable with, or steals time from loved ones, and aren’t those all failures? Failure often brings knowledge of a sort, and isn’t truth a success?

Truth has always excited me, though the keys to life’s mysteries — life’s truths — seem out of reach. Each truth learned hints at greater truths, and so we truth seekers are always seeking. (Always failing, too, because truth can never be grasped.)

Although I miss my soul mate with all my mind and heart, when I am brutally honest with myself, I know we went as far as we could together in our search for truth. For us to have remained together would have stifled that glow of barely sensed knowledge, would have kept us tethered to ordinariness. But by his death, he took me to the ends of my reach, showed me emotions I didn’t know existed, let me feel the bonds of eternity and the bounds of the earth.

I sense something more for me in this life, sense . . . whatever it is that lies beyond the cone of my vision. I haven’t a clue how to move beyond my own grasp, though I sense that a life of security, certainty and success is not the way to do it. All of those are ties that bind, and since I am free and boundless for the first time in my life, I’m not about to tie myself in knots again, at least until life and age do it for me.

Sometimes I sense laughter deep within the universe. Sometimes I sense the playfulness that holds everything together.

Once a very long time ago when I was immeasurably young, my classmates were trying to read each other’s minds. They sat there, brows furrowed in concentration. My then best friend was one of the would-be-mind readers. I was bored with the whole thing, and played my own game of trying to break their concentration by shouting out gleefully anything I could think of. The gameplayers were so annoyed at me they blocked me out, so no one realized that I unwittingly shouted out the right answers whenever my friend was the one sending the thoughts.

So playfulness, laughter, uncertainty, insecurity — these are things to be gleefully and joyfully embraced. Oddly, I don’t know how to play, to be playful. Never did. I was a serious child, and except for moments here and there, I’m a serious adult. But seriousness will never get me what I want. Truth is a shy creature that can’t be hunted, only enticed with promises of play.

I’m being foolishly poetic, perhaps, but maybe, just maybe, I’m on to something. If nothing else, maybe I’ll learn to be playful.

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, andDaughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

7 Responses to “Here’s To a Life Of Insecurity, Uncertainty, Failure”

  1. Coco Ihle Says:

    This was so interesting to read and ponder, Pat. I’ve always been a serious person, too, and have been embarrassed many times when realizing someone was teasing me, or pulling my leg. I never know how to answer. I try to cover up with my version of humor, but deep down I know that the other person has found me out and is aware of my discomfort. You are not alone in your musings. I think, at least, many of us struggle with various degrees of the same maladies. But you have a way of bringing them to our attention–perhaps to help us through them, as you work through yours. Thank you.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      You’re welcome, and thank you for your kind words. I’m trying to live more than think, but since I am continuing with my daily blogging, the thoughts do appear on the “page.” It’s nice to know someone is reading.

  2. Ken Coffman Says:

    We could create a decision tree and the first question would be: are you a nihilist who believes life is ultimately meaningless? I can’t buy meaninglessness, but not for any logical reason. I reject nihilism because I don’t like where it leads. Once we decide there is a central meaning or purpose, now we can decide if our brains are capable of understanding it. Many people think they do, or cling to religion, but the religious strategies are so scattered and diverse, it seems like that leads the wrong direction too. I accept Kurt Godel’s theory that a closed set cannot create enough complexity to describe itself. Beyond that, think of all the horror generated by the fanatics of certaintude. So, there is meaning, we’ll never fully grasp it, so what do we do? Work, try to be more positive than negative, more constructive than destructive, more wholesome than hedonistic. Fight evil. Support good. Do random acts of kindness. Try to skate around the relentless gravity coming from black holes of despair. Or not, what do I know?

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I like the idea of meaninglessness, it makes life art. Art is intrinsically meaningless, just a bit of paint and canvas, or marble and chisel, but we make of it what we will, finding power in the doing or the seeing.

      I keep hoping to extend the bounds of that closed system in order to understand more, but the general consensus seems to be what you said, that although we have purpose, we may never know what it is.

      What do you know? One hell of a lot! I always appreciate your wisdom.

  3. mickeyhoffman Says:

    A Bob Dylan line: “There’s no success like failure, and failure’s no success at all.” If you let that go around in your brain a few times, it seems to be refuting the popular notion that failure doesn’t suck. The wisdom is we can learn from failure and I can’t deny the possibility in that scenario. I’m just not fond of it. I prefer to try to have flexible expectations instead.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Yes, exactly. Flexibility and maybe not labeling things. I don’t like failure at all even if it does bring knowledge. For me, my friend’s comment was more about looking at things a different way, not being afraid to go against custom and habit, and not assuming I know … anything.

  4. Constance Koch Says:

    If you learn from a failure, than it was a good experience. If you repeat it, than it becomes a bad experience.

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