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Embracing the I-don’t-know-ness

I’m just one year shy of being 50 years old and I’ve been thinking a lot about a conversation I had with a coworker when I was in my early 20s. It wasn’t really a conversation as much as it was this man (about 20 years older than me) telling me how people my age didn’t know a damn thing and how when you got older (older like him), you’d finally know what was what. I remember how proud of himself he was. How much he enjoyed telling me this information. On my commute home, I remember thinking how his stance didn’t sit right with me. I mean, not just the monologuing part, but also I questioned whether it sounded appealing to really know what was what.

And now that I’m older (older than that guy at the time), it still doesn’t sit right.

[1]I mean, I know that some things only come with experience. Some things only come from years of hard work. It is satisfying to know more things. But at the same time, I don’t want to totally know what is what. I often love to bathe in the I-don’t-know-ness, especially in the early phase of a creative project. I still want to stumble around in the dark and discover new things. At some point, I suppose, it’s fine to understand what you’re up to. But I’d argue that some of the best discoveries happen because you don’t know exactly where you’re going.

I’m not saying that I always want to fumble around in a dark cave. I’m all for outlining or planning or whatever tools are necessary to reign in the madness of creating something. And I definitely appreciate getting something to the finish line. But I still want to allow room to venture into the unknown, even if I occasionally set up some guardrails, or breadcrumbs, or whatever second-rate metaphor you’d like to use to get yourself back home…

But don’t trust blogger me, listen to YouTuber me:

What do you think? What is your comfort for the unknown?

About Yuvi Zalkow [2]

Yuvi Zalkow [3]'s first novel was reluctantly published in 2012 by MP Publishing. His forthcoming novel will be published by Red Hen Press. His stories and essays have been published in Glimmer Train, Narrative Magazine, Carve Magazine, The Daily Dot, Rosebud, The Poop Report, and others. He occasionally makes YouTube videos and apps for iPhones. Check out his website [4] if you actually want to find out more.