Tuesday in my Media and Conflict class, the professor asked us several questions as an evaluation of our personality. One of the questions was “How would you deal with uncertainty?”
Hmm… Let’s see: I’m uncertain about what I’m going to do after graduation; I’m uncertain about what I want to be when I “grow up”; I’m uncertain that what I am doing right now will get me to the place where I want to be, and I have no idea what place that is.
Truth be told, at this moment, I am uncertain of pretty much everything about myself, except for my sexuality, maybe.
When “uncertainty” is put in a question like this, it must mean something bad, something uncomfortable, something that we don’t want present in our life. No one asks a question like “How would you deal with a life of health, wealth, love and happiness?”
But why is uncertainty necessarily a bad thing? I mean, apart from the fact that it keeps you anxiously wondering all the time, that it makes you feel insecure about who you are and what you do, and that it deprives you of the power to be in charge of your own life.
Or that it gives you all sorts of hints but no promise whatsoever of a brighter future, and that there is a possibility that the uncertainty you go through brings you nothing but complete failure…Wait a minute, what was my point again?
So uncertainty sucks. But I still love it. And here is why:
Uncertainty always brings up the best stories and real emotions. I spent two weeks in Paris. Despite all the breath-taking sightseeing and comfortable hotels, the night I remember the most is my last night there when my train was cancelled and rescheduled to the next morning. I had spent all my money and could not afford to stay in a hotel.
So I stayed on the street, along with my luggage and some drunk, homeless people, where I had never been before.
I still remember clearly how scared I was, still remember the feel of my heart beating every time a drunk person with blood-shot eyes approached me.
I could go on and on about that night but I’ll probably have to tell it another time. The thing is, it remained one of my favorite and most exciting stories.
This is the magic of uncertainty: It brings drama. And let’s face it, who doesn’t love drama? I know I do.
Another reason why I’m obsessed with uncertainty is that it brings certainty in your heart. If something is meant to be, you will stop wondering about what you really want. Instead, you’ll just learn to accept and embrace the result.
But with uncertainty, and along with all the ponderings, you will, at one point, start to see what matters the most to you, what you are willing to fight for even with the sacrifice of some other valuable things, and eventually, who you really are.
It’s just like tossing a coin to make a decision. By the time the coin leaves your hand, you realize which side you really want to choose; in the time of facing uncertainty, you start to know, with certainty, what you ought to be doing.
Last but certainly not least, life is full of uncertainty, everywhere, all the time. At least mine is. So I guess it’s better to love it instead of hating it.
Bixi Tian is a graduate student studying journalism and a columnist for The Post. Send your lessons from uncertainty to her at