Magic 8 Balls, My Life, and Other Unpredictable Things

Remember when you got your first Magic 8 Ball?  You’d ask it to predict the future by asking questions like, “Will Jacob ask me to the dance?” or “Will I make the All-Star basketball team?”  Or maybe you were grade-conscious, and you’d ask about passing a certain test or whether you should sign up for advanced placement social studies.  You’d give it a good, solid shake, and wait for the answer to present itself. 

Of course, shaking it made it that much harder to read, because all of those little blue bubbles would turn to foam, further clouding the multi-sided die when it rose to the surface.   But you’d shake it anyway, because really—who can resist shaking a Magic 8 Ball?

My life has been quite the Magic 8 Ball lately.  And the questions are all much more grown-up, involving career and marriage, dream-chasing and realism, living situations and familial distance.

I’ve definitely been shaking this Magic 8 Ball.  And it’s alternately thrilling and terrifying, not knowing all of the answers.  The more I shake it up, the less clear things become.  But I’m feeling almost bizarrely calm about everything.  I’m just surrendering to the chaos.  I’m winging it, to say the very least. 

I most recently described the feeling to a friend:  “It’s like I’m carrying a really large tray, with lots of glasses of water on it.”

“So having a job would remove one of the glasses?” he asked me, because my simile was intentionally vague.  “Or would it be adding another glass?” 

I thought for a second.  “I don’t know!” I shrugged at him, because I really didn’t.  And I was (and am) strangely okay with that.  “But I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job of balancing it all.”

I’ve reached a point where I accept that the answers aren’t all that important.  I mean, sure, they’re going to make a difference in my life and all.  I’m at the proverbial crossroads; a turning point.  But as someone who likes to have control over everything, it’s been incredibly liberating to just wait and see.  To sit with this indecision, this not knowing, this constant change and uncertainty.  To trust myself enough to know that I’ll be okay—great, even—no matter what.  To allow the die to settle at the top of the 8 Ball whenever it’s ready and wait for the bubbles to clear. 

I guess I’m embracing the idea that there are no “bad” choices.  There are just different paths, and whichever one I choose (or whichever one comes to be) is mine.  It will be up to me to make the most of it.

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