We are officially 14 days into 2017. Many of us are wondering what the new year will bring. We hope for the best, but we know that life can change in a New York minute. 2016 may have brought unexpected surprises, some good, some bad, and some both, in our personal lives. America was shaken to her core by the unprecedented election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States. The self-professed pundits, anchors and journalists were certain that Hillary would win easily.
John King, CNN anchor and wizard of the “magic wall,” was so entertaining; with a swipe of a finger he analyzed, predicted, and turned blue states into red. By 10 p.m. on election night, Wolf Blitzer was hyperventilating and stuttering while he made his way to and fro from the “magic wall.” After a big election night hangover, some folks are still in shock and disbelief, but it is as it is, the Electoral College has spoken.
Folks, here’s breaking news that you won’t read in the Sunday Times, or see flashed over cable TV: We live with uncertainty every day! Yup, every day. Yet we humans, aka control freaks, try to manipulate life. We try to move our chess pieces around to suit our particular needs. Good luck with that! The dictionary defines certainty as “the quality or state of being, especially on the basis of evidence.” But what can we be certain of, really?
We should be certain of the unconditional love of our spouse or significant other; if not, I would take a closer look. Some couples are on the precipice of whether to stay in a relationship or leave in the face of betrayal, abuse, repeated performances and a host of other issues. That’s a hell of a lot of uncertainty to live with on a daily basis. Usually, one or the other will act out and bam! — the relationship meets an untimely death. And yet, uncertainty lingers.
We can’t control those who mean us harm through acts of terrorism. America has retaliated with military air, drone and guided cruise missile strikes, but nevertheless, some folks think we have not done enough. However, short of waging war on the entire Middle East, what can we as individuals do? The scare tactics that terrorists employ have shaken our security, so much so, that some folks are too frightened to travel. I say, Hell, no! I will go where I choose. When and how we push back is not under our control. There is a system of checks and balances — and as far as I know, they are still in place. We seem to be buddying up to Vladimir Putin, but as I write this, U.S. intelligence agencies presented unsubstantiated reports that Russia had collected salacious information about the president-elect. Uncertainty? Well, yes!
Environmentalists and scientists are worried about climate change — and we should, too. Other than protecting the environment and our natural resources in our own “little Ponderosa,” there is little else we can do. Economists are uncertain about the market, interest rates, housing prices, job growth, unemployment, oil prices and the rest. Uncertainty in the job market is a biggie. Will my job be cut? Will I take a pay cut? Will I have health insurance? Can I find another job?
Those whose work in law enforcement live with uncertainty on a daily basis. Officers innocently sitting in their radio cars have been gunned down — gunned down by unhinged individuals whose actions have earned them the revolting label “cop killers.” One must never forget the Sandy Hook innocents who were massacred by a deranged man barely out of his teens who had access to a gun. When some Sandy Hook parents sent their kids off to school, little did they know they would never see their kids alive again. Yet, this horrific act has not changed a thing. We are still at the mercy of the gun lobbyists.
A simple medical procedure morphs into more testing and finally a diagnosis. Have you ever sat on the edge of the chair in the physician’s office waiting for the verdict that may change your or a loved one’s life? As a medical professional, I have witnessed many medical consultations. Some families sit in silence, not really comprehending the words. In a dreamlike state, they see the physician’s lips moving but fail to hear. I remember sitting numbly while the “death knoll” rang for both my husbands, who are now deceased. Nothing came out of my mouth the second time around (a feat in itself,) but I was silently screaming. Thankfully, many of these stories have happy endings; however, most cancer survivors live with the “shadow of the shadow.” Will there be a reoccurrence? Everyday aches and pains may cause severe anxiety. Awaiting results of post-treatment testing can be torturous.
Having a baby is a divine blessing. Yet, most parents worry for nine months about this and that until a healthy baby is born. I fretted incessantly when pregnant with Greg, my first-born. I wondered how I could love something I did not know. I chalk it up to being a kid myself with unbalanced “crazy” hormones running amuck. The first time Greg grabbed my pinky, I thought my heart would burst with joy. It was love at first sight.
It’s a fool’s game to pursue certainty in an uncertain world. Nothing is for sure. OK, there are some things that I am sure of: scientists have proven that the earth and the planets revolve around the sun. We are all going to meet our maker one day. We gotta pay our taxes. (But wait… there are those who are so smart that they find loopholes and avoid paying their fair share.) The sun rises from the east and sets in the west. Day exits when night falls and tomorrow will come with or without our consent.
Folks, uncertainty is life’s way of helping us grow into emotionally mature folks. Ha! Funny, after writing some 900 hundred words, this pithy proverb sums it up in seven words: There is nothing certain but the uncertain.
Celia Iannelli is a native New Yorker enjoying a second career — in ‘retirement’ — as a freelance writer. She lives in Jamesport.
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