Last week, my 17-year-old daughter, a rising senior, took her first college class at a city university. Before she stepped on campus she prepared by
Studying the campus map
Noting what she needed to bring
Setting out her clothes a few days ahead of time
Going to bed early the night before (even though she didn’t sleep a wink!)
She texted me from the waiting room students entered after registration to say that it looked like “almost everyone here is with someone they know.”
Before I could complete a reassuring reply, she sent this: “Once I get through the next two hours of waiting for my class to start, I’ll be fine.”
By lunch time she had made three new best friends.
This is an excellent reminder that the value of cultivating a tolerance for ambiguity is the sweet reward that is likely to result.
Part of the that work is strategic, getting the lay of the land and preparing what you can. The other part is pure adventure. The adventure requires that we allow an unfolding to occur. As each fold unfurls and stretches out before us, we are able to take a step forward toward the unknown because in that space so much becomes known. New friends, new information, new feelings. I am cultivating my tolerance for ambiguity as I write this. First chapters are due to my book editor in two weeks. A part of me wants to bail. A part of me wants to criticize. A part of me is so curious about what I will actually write that she can't wait to get started! These parts have to come to the table together so that I can begin from this place of anxious ambiguity.
I've got the lay of the land, have stepped into the waiting room and am prepared to begin. The promise of "the new" that comes with each step forward is enough reward for me to know that in just a short while, I'll be fine. What is the discomfort you are willing to sit through in order to emerge anew?