What I Don’t Know

July 10th, 2014


I’m a sucker for pieces on the internet that seem to offer a brisk how-to guide to happiness, enlightenment and better makeup techniques.

“7 Steps to Becoming More Authentic”

“5 Fast Fixes for Flabby Arms!”

“9 Facts About Kale That Will Blow Your Mind!”

“10  Sure-Fire Tricks to Looking Younger!”

“3 Miracle Creams You Can’t Live Without!”

I often imagine the conversations between the people hired to write these lists:

Jane: Did you know there are 7 Infallible Ways to Break Facebook Addiction? 

Sue: No, but my sister gave me 3 Steps to Taking Better Selfies and they really work. 

Jane: Wow, that’s awesome. By the way, did you realize that sandwich you’re eating has 8 Deadly Ingredients the FDA Never Told Us About?

I am blown away but not by kale. I’m blown away that anyone anywhere has so many answers to life’s mysteries. The older I get, the more I realize that I don’t know anything for sure. I am beset daily by confusion, ambiguity and lingering grief that I’ll never learn to apply eye shadow in this lifetime. I could never declare as Oprah does every month,  “What I Know for Sure!” Or send an essay off to a public radio contest themed “This I Believe.” Everything changes and life doesn’t wait for you to learn the new rules. Things fall apart and then they get cobbled back together in a totally different way. People rarely  behave rationally. I grew up in a kind of emotional chaos, so part of me is always longing for certainty, rules that will guarantee I don’t fall off the edge of the world. But I’m trying to make peace with the fact that I know nothing for sure, that my beliefs are subject to change, and that advice usually falls on deaf ears, including mine. But I still harbor a secret hope that one day I’ll conquer eye shadow.

One Response to “What I Don’t Know”

  1. Vernon Owens says:

    I wouldn’t worry about it. My guess is you don’t need to wear eye shadow…

    Great blog, you have a great gift…

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