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.
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?